Thursday, November 27, 2008

Blackface Holiday

I'm full of guest bloggers these days... my creativity is dried up but I'm loving what my friends have to say. Feast upon my friend Black and (a)Broad's thoughts on the Sinterklaas and Swarte Piet festival this year...

A Dutch Holiday in Black Face

Aaaahhhhh. That glorious time of year is once again upon us. Pepernoten (tiny spiced cookies) are strewn all over the place, random shoes seem to walk themselves into stores where they wait to be filled with wat lekkers (usually pepernoten or candy) or a small gift. Talk of Sinterklaas (St. Nicholas or Santa Claus, but also eponymous for the celebration itself) fills the air as do threats from parents of ne’er-do-well kiddies that old St. Nick won’t bring them anything if their misbehavior continues. Sinterklaas has just traveled by steamboat all the way from Spain with his white horse Amerigo and his helper Zwarte Piet (Black Pete). For your average Dutch person, Sinterklaas is unthinkable without Black Pete – skipping about, entertaining the little ones, and throwing out wat lekkers – dressed up in medieval Turkish or Moorish costume, black curly wig, face painted with thick black paint, and bright red lipstick.

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