The jolly old man with a festive, fur-lined red suit and bushy beard is coming to town — but don’t call him Santa Claus.
Sinterklaas — the Netherlands’ version of the woolly-chinned guy that brings the presents — will be at the Wyckoff House Museum in Canarsie on Dec. 6 to celebrate St. Nicholas Day. Kids can ring in the holidays with Dutch traditions that have become synonymous with Christmas — making stockings, eating treats, and dubbing each other naughty or nice. And they will probably find the experience quite familiar, said a museum employee.
“Many people argue the American Santa Claus traditions we have come from Sinterklaas,” said Melissa Branfman, the museum’s director of education. The family-friendly festivities will also feature cultural crafts such as clog-decorating and colonial games. But Branfman said the day is really all about the arrival of Sinterklaas, who usually comes to the celebration perched upon his harnessed helper.
“He comes in on the horse and the kids are welcome to feed the horse carrots or hay,” she said, adding that children in the Netherlands often leave treats for Sinterklaas’s sidekick as kids in the US do for Santa’s reindeers. “Dutch children would leave out their shoe with carrots, sugar cubes, or hay for the horse.”
Youngsters at the celebration will also get to snack on traditional treats, including speculoos — a spiced cookie — and hot cider.
Families from the Netherlands are regulars at the celebration, said Branfman, but Brooklynites from all different backgrounds are welcome.
“While it is a Dutch tradition, the Dutch spread it all over the world,” she said.
St. Nicholas Day at the Wyckoff House Museum [5816 Clarendon Rd. between E. 58th Street and Ralph Avenue in Canarsie, (718) 629–5400 www.wycko
©2014 Community News Group
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