With just about 3 months under our belts here in the Netherlands, we're now at our first Dutch holiday. Sint Maarten. Almost identical to Halloween (and comes only days after we celebrated the American goodness of that holiday), we were excited to start learning more about the traditions celebrated here in our host country.
Sint Maarten is celebrated in much of Europe and in a variety of ways. No matter the country, the origin is the same. Sint Maarten is considered to be a friend of children and to the poor. Celebrated since around the 4th century, the legend that is most famous is that Sint Maarten cut his cloak in half during a snowstorm in order to help clothe a homeless man. As he died on November 11th, this is why Sint Maarten is celebrated on this evening. In older times, children and the poor would go door to door looking for food for the winter.
Here in the Netherlands it is celebrated similar to Halloween, it's a holiday about the children. They carry their handmade lanterns (or store bought ones) door to door. They are not in costume but instead they sing a song at each home and are then given a candy treat, similar to Halloween.
Sint Maarten Sint Maarten
De koeien hebben staarten
De meisjes hebben rokjes aan
Daar komt Sint Martinus aan