Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Sinterklaas

This is a David Sedaris audio essay about St Nick. He is not exactly the Jolly Old Saint Nicholas we enjoy in the United States. Our St Nick is an obese compulsive cookie and milk eater who falls down your chimney with wrapped presents to disburse under a dying decorated fire hazard tree. The decidedly unique St Nick of The Netherlands, who travels with 6 to 8 black men, is known to mete out harsher punishment than a lump of coal to naughty children. The scenes in this 6-minute version seem to be from the annual St Nicholas Parade in Amsterdam (warning, there are no similar parades in the US):



That was a truncated somewhat sanitized version of the fuller-bodied hilarious Sedaris story which you can read by clicking on: "Six to Eight Black Men". One of Sedaris' many non-writing jobs was as a Macy's Elf which may explain why he was personally insulted to learn that Saint Nicholas would consider elves to be silly and unrealistic (more about that in a future post).

David Sedaris' offbeat observations about Christmas celebrations meshes perfectly with my less than Christmasy feelings this year.

5 comments:

Wow, that was awkward said...

Funny! I just picked up my first Sedaris book. Naked. The book title. Not my state when I picked it up. Hilarious guy.

Fran said...

Whoah! That was different! Santa in Spain, speaking Spanish & a switch for naughty kids.
Can't blame him for wanting to relocate-- who would want to live in place under the rule of....Palin!

Ingrid said...

ha!! I was going to post on it but I thought nah..everyone will think it would be too 'controversial'. I know I know..Sinterklaas comes from Spain. Just before I was born, his 'zwarte pieten' (black petes) were explained away to have gotten so black on account of all that soot when going down the chimney to put the presents in the houses.
I remember when I still believed in Sinterklaas and 'he' arrived in our hometown. Those arrivals always happen at the City Hall on his white horse (of course of course) with oodles of zwarte pieten about throwing pepernoten (some hard round small cookie type thing) all over the people. One kid piped up "Sinterklaas doesn't exist!!" Man, my heart nearly stopped and I remember thinking, oh no, that kid's going into 'the bag' (of Sinterklaas) and will be taken to Spain!
LOL..ah yes..at least 'our' Sinterklaas is based on a real Catholic bishop and he dresses the part better than your ol' St. Nick I mean..heck, where does he come from? yea righ..the NORTH POLE!! rotflol!!

the stuff that kids will buy into..

Ingrid

D.K. Raed said...

Wow/Awkward:
I don't think I've seen you before, so, welcome! I even like the Sedaris stories that aren't funny, or least not on first read.

Fran:
I know I'd much rather live in Spain than the North Pole! I cracked up about Santa only speaking a few phrases of spanish. There was one vid (not the one I posted) that showed him using an online translator to look up how to ask where the Topless Bars are in spanish!

D.K. Raed said...

Ingrid:
I had the same worry (about the controvery), but then I thought if people are that sensitive, then they deserve to get poked in their sensitivity! It's not like it's a made-up story. It's real (as you know)! You should definitely do a post about how different the xmas celebration is in the countries you've lived. Perhaps you can explain why Sinter is based on a real catholic bishop (who was obviously NOT obese & didn't own any magic sinterdeer). It's time we got shocked out of our cocoons.

I viewed some youtubes of Sinterklaas' arrival that weren't as dignified as the one I used. In some of them, Sinter seemed drunk, couldn't get up on his white horse or kept falling off, hat & staff flying, long robes fluffing up & showing his sinterwear! His black "valets" weren't too helpful, in fact they seemed to enjoy Mr. Klaas's dilemma.

And OMG, I cracked up over your childhood fear of some wiseass kid being bagged & taken to Spain!