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Welcome to the first day of December. No doubt a busy month in many calendars, especially the calendar of Sinterklaas who has a lot of presents to deliver, many naughty children to round up and take back with him to Spain and no doubt quite a bit of unpacking and washing to do.
In honour of Sinterklaas and his departure back to sunny Spain, I’ve got one more Sinterklaas tradition to tell you about…the Sinterklaas poem.
If you aren’t receiving your Sinterklaas gifts on December 5th by a kindly neighbour knocking on the door, dropping off a bag of gifts and then running away before the door opens so as to not spoil the surprise, then you are probably exchanging gifts with fellow adults, in which case you may find two traditions mixed into one event. By the way, if you are the kindly neighbour with sack delivering responsibilities, I wish you luck!
The first tradition you may experience on the night is that your gift may be hidden inside of a homemade “surprise.” The surprise element seems to be a little bit vague but I have heard stories of surprises ranging from a paper mache Eiffel Tower with a ring inside to a slightly less impressive box filled with sticky syrup.
The second tradition is in the form of a poem. The poem, usually written in Dutch, is supposed to be written for the gift receiver by Sinterklaas (or in some cases Zwarte Piet). It “should” be kind in tone but with room to poke fun at the individual’s bad habits or character deficiencies.
Never having written a Sinterklaas poem, I decided to try my hand at it and here is my result.
Sinterklaas was deep in thought,
About a present that Marieke would like a lot.
Every day she had studied hard,
All her Dutch words written out on card.
Past tense, present tense, singular and plural,
All the rules went round her head in one gigantic whirl.
And then that was the moment,
That the Sint knew he had blown it.
Because instead of Dutch BYKI Express,
He had got her the NT2 Staatsexamen test.
Not likely to win a poetry award, I know, but fun all the same. And now comes the two questions that you no doubt knew were coming…what surprise will you be making and what Sinterklaas gift are you hoping for?