As the weather gets colder, the foreheads of the citizens of Groningen start getting sweatier. Only a couple of days more to go and then everything has to be arranged. The city has to be clean, facilities have to be made in order to make room for thousands of children, all the bakers in Groningen have to start baking as many pepernoten as possible and the chimneys have to be in perfect condition. Of course there always remains that one question: Have we been sweet enough this year?
One of our bloggers, Elbrich already explained what the tradition of Sinterklaas means to the Dutch. Now the time has come. Sinterklaas is actually making his entrance this year in our city, Groningen! There will off course be a live broadcast to the rest of Holland, but who wants to watch it on television, when you also have the opportunity to see the one and only Sinterklaas in real life?
This is what will happen on the 16th of November: Sinterklaas will enter Groningen at noon on his boat at the Hoge en Lage der A. Make sure to be there early, as no one wants to miss the view of this huge boat passing by with dozens of dancing Zwarte Pieten on board and a proud man standing on deck with his long white beard and his red cloak, while his name is being cheered by thousands of children, who all want to hand him their drawings in person.
Then Sinterklaas will make a tour through the waters of Groningen, ending at the Zuiderhaven. There he will climb his horse and continue his tour through the city with the Grote Markt as his final destination. This is the moment where you can actually shake his hand and look the legend deeply into his eyes. Of course the Zwarte Pieten will join him on his tour, while scattering pepernoten amongst the children. This may sound odd to you, but nothing makes a child laugh louder than a Piet throwing candy at him or her. Eating off the ground is not an issue during this time of the year by the way - It just strengthens your immune system.
During the day, there will be five different stages with musical performances. Not only will there be many singers for children, performing Sinterklaassongs, but there will also be an acrobatic performance and a ‘University act’. Here, at our own university!
Around 3 pm, the last performance will come to an end. Sinterklaas will descend from his throne, shake the hand of the mayor for the last time, wave at all the children present at the Grote Markt and leave on the back of his loyal horse, Amerigo. However, don’t consider this to be the ending - it’s actually the beginning. The beginning of a period full of presents, pepernoten, chocolate letters and above all, love for family and friends. That night, families and friends throughout the Netherlands will gather underneath their chimney (or their radiator, or just underneath a random table), sing a song for Sinterklaas, leave a carrot in their shoe and hope that they’ll find a small present the next day. But remember, if you haven’t been sweet this year, Zwarte Piet will just walk by your house.
Program November 16
10.00 am Start of the first performance at the stage at Zuiderhaven
12.00 am Sinterklaas enters Groningen on his boat at the Hoge en Lage der A
00.20 pm Sinterklaas arrives with his boat at Zuiderhaven
00.30 pm Sinterklaas starts his tour through town
01.00 pm Sinterklaas arrives at the Grote Markt
03.00 pm Ending of the final performance at the stage on the Grote Markt
By Lucia Grijpink