Monday, December 5, 2016

Sinterklaas and Spain

 We're celebrating Sinterklaas (St. Nicholas Day) here in the Netherlands. Children set out their shoes (rather than their stockings) with carrots for St. Nicholas's horse (rather than cookies for Santa Claus).

Sint Nikolaas, a proper bishop with mitre, robe, and bishop's crook, doesn't go hopping down chimneys. His fun-loving servant Piet/Pete does that for him, though sometimes the good saint himself politely rings the doorbell. After the festivities are over, he and Piet return to Spain (not the North Pole) by steamboat (not by flying sleigh), taking the naughty children with them.

Keith happens to be going to Spain himself later this week. No, it's  not because he's been naughty. He will begin recording the New Testament in Basque or Euskara.
Well, why is Sinterklaas so much more popular here than the fat guy with the elves? Is it because he comes to the waterlogged, canal-crossed Netherlands on a boat, speaking Dutch and acting Dutch? The legend of a kindhearted Christian in 4th-century Turkey has been transported into something Dutch children can readily relate to.
God came in a way all of us could readily relate to--as a human baby. Keith wants everyone to understand what that baby said and did when He grew to an adult. And we understand that best when we hear it in the language closest to our hearts.

1 comment:

  1. What does happen to naughty children in Spain? Spanish lessons?