Sunday, December 7, 2008

The bastardization of Saint Nicholas

Today, the downtown area was closed off by police for the parade of Santa Claus. Santa Claus is a big thing, also in Vancouver. Santa Claus has his origin in the Dutch culture, and is derived from Holland's Saint Nicholas. It found its way into American popular culture through the Dutch Immigrants in New York (or New Amsterdam).

It's a bit sad to see Black Pete replaced by an elf, and the white horse replaced by reindeer. Some interesting trivia: pre-war Holland only had one Black Pete. The Canadian liberators wanted to reinstate the festivities for the Dutch kids. When doing so, they decided to have multiple Black Petes, which is how the festivity is celebrated today.

I guess Dutch culture is a fluid concept. The quick assimilation of the Dutch abroad probably helped in replacing the Saint with Santa.

And on an unrelated subject: I am finally officially licensed to operate a motorcycle on the public roads of British Columbia. My third road-test was successful.


Bram Stolk said...

Oeps...wat een mooi sinterklaas kadootje, kan die motor SUZ eindelijk weer de weg op en mag je er zelf mee rijden. Nu maar opletten dat je geen bekeuringen bij elkaar rijdt en puntjes op dat mooie nieuwe Canadese rijbewijs verzamelt. Is het daar ook een CreditCard model?

jacco said...

Congratulations! Sadly, no motor licence for me. I have to 'console' myself with Motorstorm Pacific Rift... :)

Marc said...

The Santa now know in the States (the fat friendly white bearded guy) first appeared in a Coca Cola commercial a long time ago.