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Sinterklaas II Posted by on Dec 18, 2008 in Dutch Language

For those who want to have a glimpse at the famous Jan Steen picture mentioned in the previous post… here’s a link to the website of the Dutch Museum showing the picture.

http://www.rijksmuseum.nl/aria/aria_assets/SK-A-385?page=3〈=nl&context_space=&context_id=

Traditionally, the eve before the celebration, is called ‘Pakjesavond’ (the fifth of December) and could be translated as: The eve of gifts, or more literally: ‘Parcel evening’.

The eve of gifts was not very common before the war, due to the years of crisis. After the war, the climbing wealth and stabilising economy, made room for a more giving culture: a party of gifts to celebrate the old Dutch ‘Sinterklaasfeest’.

When the ‘shoe setting’ was just for the rich in the years before, after the war more and more families started this tradition in the private of their homes.

Slowly, Sinterklaas transformed from an invisible saint to a grandpa like figure who started to visit the children with the aid of his Moorish helpers in their homes, always bringing a bag filled with gifts. Of course, the role of Sinterklaas and the ‘Zwarte Pieten’ was taken by the father, a friendly uncle or another member of the family.

At first parents gave their children home made presents, later on this changed to bought gifts.

Also large companies like: Hoogovens, Shell and others, made sure the children of their employees would receive a present.

Today, ‘The eve of gifts’ is not just for children. Adults (in family, friend or business circle) also give each other anonymous gifts (like ‘secret Santa’) often gift wrapped in a ‘surprise’ (a funny way to gift wrap a present, often with a personal theme for the person the gift is intended for). The ‘Sinterklaasgedicht’ is also a popular tradition… it’s a little poem, also with a personal theme.

As I mentioned a few times before, Sinterklaas does not work alone. These days he’s accompanied with an entire army of ‘Zwarte Pieten’. The last seven years or so, there’s even a special children’s program, following the adventures and preparations of the Zwarte Pieten before the celebration. There’s always some bad guy involved who – for some reason – tries to thwart the Zwarte Pieten to successfully complete their preparations and their journey to Holland. Sinterklaas is always blissfully ignorant of all the problems that arrive and the Zwarte Pieten go through great lengths to keep the problems secret from Sinterklaas, so he doesn’t have to worry, always in the hope to succeed just in time.

The show is called: ‘De club van Sinterklaas’ and every year the theme-song is changed to fit the main problem of the show … first years always sung and written by ‘Cool Pete’ currently also known as Diego, and this year for the first time by ‘PJ’ (pun to DJ) and ‘Dance Pete’.

Other reoccurring ‘Petes’ are: ‘Prof Pete’ (professor), ‘Music Pete’(Elvis look-alike Pete who can’t sing worth a damn), ‘Test Pete’ (to test the gifts), ‘Help Pete’ (to assist all the others), ‘High Heights’ Pete’ (to coordinate the journey across the Dutch rooftops), ‘Show the Way Pete’ (to coordinate the journey from Spain to the Netherlands), ‘Acrobat Pete’, ‘Paint Pete’ and ‘Hocus Pocus Pete’ (a poor excuse for a magician).

Needless to say, children love to watch this show!

Here are the lyrics to this years theme song: De Club van Sinterklaas – De grote Onbekende

(The Club of Sinterklaas – The Great Unknown) and its translation. You can also click on below link to download and listen to the song. It’s a translation to stay truest to it’s meaning… so I didn’t try to make a translation on rhyme.

01-de_club_van_sinterklaas-de_grote_onbekende

De Club van Sinterklaas – DE GROTE ONBEKENDE

Vrienden en vriendinnetjes, we zijn hier weer met zijn allen bij de Club van Sinterklaas! Hoor je wel, we maken er een feestje van met PJ achter de tafel! Komt ie! Hey… Rrrrrr Ai!

Ik dacht
Een jaartje geen gedoe
Gewoon naar Holland toe
Een keertje zonder moeten hopen
Maar
Ik had het al gevreesd
Het grootste kinderfeest
Dreigt weer eens in de soep te lopen
Sint, zelfs de Koningin, heeft er geen zin meer in
Dus blijf dit jaar maar thuis
Dit is niet pluis dus staat
De Sint zijn Club paraat
En hoor je t in de straat
t is tijd voor weer een nieuwe heldendaad!
Wat! Waar! Hoe of Wie?
De Grote Onbekende die
Het Feest van Sint verstoren wil
Wie is zo koud, gemeen en kil?
Wat is dit nou weer
Lukt het ons ook deze keer
Het is weer eens bende door
De Onbekende!
Wooohooohoo
Waarom moet toch elk jaar
De Club weer bij elkaar
Om Sinterklaas zijn Feest te redden
Jaren lang gespannen staan
Ik wen er bijna aan
Ik durf er bijna op te wedden
Dat die goeie ouwe Sint
Dit best vervelend vindt
Het Feest voor ieder kind
Begint al ieder jaar
Met pech en dat is naar
Dus roep ze bij elkaar
De Club van Sinterklaas staat altijd klaar!
Wat! Waar! Hoe of Wie?
De Grote Onbekende die
Het Feest van Sint verstoren wil
Wie is zo koud, gemeen en kil?
Wat is dit nou weer
Lukt het ons ook deze keer
Het is weer eens bende door
De Onbekende!
Wooohooohoo
De Club van Sinterklaas
De Club van Sinterklaas
De Club van Sinterklaas
Wat! Waar! Hoe of Wie?
De Grote Onbekende die
Het Feest van Sint verstoren wil
Wie is zo koud, gemeen en kil?
Wat is dit nou weer
Lukt het ons ook deze keer
Het is weer eens bende door
De Grote Onbekende!

The Club of Sinterklaas – The Great Unknown

Friends, we are here together again with the Club of Sinterklaas! Can you hear it? We’re making a party with PJ at the controls! Here it goes! Hey…Rrrrrr Ai!

I thought

A year without a fuss

Just to go to Holland

One time without having to hope

But

As I had feared

The largest children’s party

is threatened to go down again

Sint, even the Queen, is out of spirits

So this year stay at home

Something’s going on

The Sint his Petes standby

You can hear it in the streets

It’s time for a new heroic act!

What! Where! How or Who?

The Great Unknown who

wants to spoil Sint’s party

who is so cold and mean?

What’s going on?

Will we succeed this year?

It’s a fine old mess because of

The Great Unknown!

Woohoohoo

Why does each year

The Club needs to intervene

To save the party of Sinterklaas

Years of tension

I’m almost getting used to it

But I dare to say

That good old St. Nick

Is quite bothered with it

The party for each kid

Starts every year

With bad luck and that’s not nice

So call them together

The Club of Sinterklaas is always prepared!


What! Where! How or Who?

The Great Unknown who

wants to spoil Sint’s party

who is so cold and mean?

What’s going on?

Will we succeed this year?

It’s a fine old mess because of

The Great Unknown!

Woohoohoo

[repeat of chorus]

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