Prepare for a New Westminster Holiday Tradition, the arrival of Sinter Klaas to open the holiday season. Children will wait in anticipation on the Quay boardwalk for Sinterklaas and the Black Peters to arrive – you can help your 2 year old to chant like the Dutch kids do, ‘Zie ginds komt de stoomboot uit Spanje weer aan…’ (See there the steamship from Spain is coming again…) to welcome Sinterklaas on his traditional mode of transportation – the steamboat (in New West, our Paddlewheeler.) Apparently, our local celebration is the last one in North America in which Sinterklaas still has a traditional arrival by boat. Check out the tradition of SinterKlaas and I think you’ll see that he is the real Santa 1.0.
The big day is this Saturday, December 6th, the actual feast day of St. Nicholas (though the traditional Netherlands Sinterklaas day is celebrated on the eve of his Feast Day). Sinteklaas will arrive at New Westminster’s boardwalk as he has for will greet the children gathered there – and if my childhood is any indication, he will give out small, hard bits of gingerbread and salty licorice and will cuddle you silently in the midst of a December downpour.
Among the Sinterklaas Welkom onlookers now are parents who in 1985 as children were present for the first arrival. The event remains a top attraction for the public market on the Fraser River bank.
Right from the start 19 years ago, local officials, MPs, MLAs, the Mayor and sometimes all councilors [sic] (and even a Premier), have been on hand to welcome the Spanish bishop. In particular councillor Casey Cook, who fondly remembers Sinterklaas calling on his hometown The Hague when he was a boy, has been there as a dignitary for years. One year he remarked that none in the crowd of onlookers seemed more excited than the grandparents.
More to be seen at http://www.sinterklaas.ca.
Full schedule at http://www.sinterklaas.ca/Sinterklaas_Arrival_Details_2008.htm