Germanic Mythology

The Gods of central Europe and the Anglo-Saxons...

SINTERKLAAS

Germanic Charity God

The Politically Questionable Dutch Santa

Patron of Amsterdam, this interpretation of old St. Nicholas has some rather unusual twists. For one thing, he had the bright idea to call Spain his home rather than the frozen North Pole.

And rather than a legion of elves or gnomes under his command, Sinterklaas has the sinister Zwarte Pieten. Black Peters, as they were known, originated as Sinterklaas’s assistants. But by the early 20th Century they had become something of a racist caricature with a role reminiscent of Krampus, the terrifying monster who stole naughty children.

That idea has largely been excised in today’s culturally sensitive times. Nowadays the Peters’ black faces are cunningly explained away as chimney soot. Such mythological rewriting is as old as the hills, but we cannot totally approve. We would much rather see a black Santa Claus. Sinterklaas himself hands out candy and chocolate letters to children. Not many spirits do that. We hope it’s not bribery.

Sinterklaas Facts and Figures

Name: Sinterklaas
Pronunciation: Coming soon
Alternative names:

Gender: Male
Type: God
Celebration or Feast Day: Unknown at present

In charge of: Charity
Area of expertise: Charity

Good/Evil Rating: Unknown at present
Popularity index: 782

Cite this article

Here's the info you need to cite this page. Just copy the text in the box below.

Article last revised on April 06, 2019 by Rowan Allen.
Editors: Peter J. Allen, Chas Saunders

References: Coming soon.

Permissions page