Last Saturday it was »Sinterklaas«, a big children’s holiday where Sinterklaas brings them presents. Also in Slovenia, this holiday is celebrated! Here, the good man is called Miklavž and he is accompanied by an angel and a few devils. Luckily no tiring discussions about black Pete here ;). By the way, I would rather have seen Black Petes here because they are nice and nice and straw candy. The devils are terrifying and Lexi was always terribly afraid of them.
The devils are of course people (men) in costume and they are unrecognizable because of the suit they are wearing. Some of them obviously like to take advantage of this. It happened once that they came the house and one of them secretly grabbed me by the buttocks! Well, what do you do then? Larsen was all excited, Lexi was scared and I had to play along which meant, keep smiling. I never did find out who that person was.
Our children are no longer in the Sinterklaas age, unfortunately, because I always loved seeing those exciting and expectant faces when the 5th of December approached. I was always thinking about what to buy and searching the internet months in advance. Because we were often tight with money, I mainly searched on Bolha.com, which is the Slovenian Marketplace, a second hand online shop. Especially when the children were young they did not see whether something was used or not :). I made sure it was still neat of course. That way we could always surprise them with a large jute bag full of gifts. In Slovenia things are a bit different. Here the children often only get some fruit and candy and sometimes a small gift, while in the Netherlands it’s custom that they get quit a lot of presents.
I remember very well that our next-door neighbour, a young girl that was a good friend of Larsen, was with us on Sinterklaas eve. In the village where we lived at the time, Sinterklaas came around with the devils and when you put something outside for the children, they came to bring it in. So the girl next door was used to a few tangerines and some chocolate and when Sinterklaas came in with a large burlap bag that was filled with presents, her eyes widened. Our children started to unpack their presents enthusiastically and the girl next door became quieter and quieter. Suddenly she started to cry and ran home. That was so sad. Of course, she couldn’t understand why Larsen and Lexi got so much, and she didn’t. Fortunately, we were able to explain it to her later. There was a similar situation with my neighbor as a child. We lived alongside a Turkish family and they didn’t celebrate Sinterklaas. I was close friends with their oldest daughter, who was the same age as I was, so we spent a lot of time together. She also came to an age when she realized that my little brother and I were overloaded with gifts from that sweet Sinterklaas while she got nothing. My mother then explained the situation to her, and she had to keep that “secret” hidden from me for a while.
Nowadays our kids get a few gifts for Christmas. I am a real family person and I like to stick to those traditions where we socialize with our children and other family and friends. Even though I have tried to pass this on, I don’t think our kids value it as much as I do :(. But yes, that’s how these things go. Everyone is slowly going their own way and soon Bine and I will be alone more and more. I really hope that our children will at least form their own traditions and will also enjoy being together with loved ones, and hopefully with their »old« mom and dad as well every now and then…..