Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I SWEAR This Is A Dutch Custom

The Dutch celebrate Sinterklaas every December 5th, and in mid-November Sinterklaas (not to be confused with Santa Claus, his cousin who lives at the North Pole) comes to the Netherlands from Spain on his big steam ship with his crew, the zwarte Piets (Black Peter). (I was going to pluralize the translation, but read it and busted up laughing, and decided against it. I digress.) Soooo, this time of year you see ads for everything with a Sinterklaas theme, complete with Zwarte Piet, who is 99.9% of the time a white person painted in black face with a black afro wig. It is so unnerving, being raised in America, and particularly in the South (I was born in Alabama, and lived in Texas for 29 years before moving to the Netherlands).

(image courtesy of Downwind of Amsterdam )

In the holiday tradition, Megan's class put on a Sinterklaas program for the children in the school, and tonight for the families and friends of the students. It was adorable. And uncomfortable. But still adorable, in an "Are you sure this isn't racist?" kind of way.

I'd like to put some cute photos of it here, but I just can't bring myself to do it. I mean, what if she runs for president one day? But, if you have a Flickr account and you're in my "friends" or "family" group, you can see them here:


It really was cute. Honest. Just really, REALLY uncomfortable. For the Americans.

No comments: