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How Holland celebrated Christmas 100 years ago and today

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In keeping with the series taken from a one hundred year old booklet from the library of John A. Walston in North Carolina, this is the next one and it is all about how the folks in Holland kept Christmas.

To read the introduction and the others please check my Examiner Content page for details and other countries – Denmark, England, Canada, and Germany.

These articles are all about history found in this little booklet, and information on how the people of Holland celebrates today. There are many other things to be found in this series. We can see a common thread all through these countries of yore. They all were celebrating the birth of Christ and celebrated with parties, food, and gifts. Each of these articles has a specific message at the end.

Here is a snippet from how they celebrate today and you can read more at this link.

“For most children in Holland, the most important day during the Christmas Celebrations is 5th December, when Sinterklaas (St. Nicholas) brings them their presents! He arrives by boat not sled.

St. Nicholas' day is on the 6th December, but in Holland, the major celebrations are held on the 5th December. The name Santa Claus comes from the name Sinterklaas.

“On the morning of St. Nicholas' Day, Sinterklaas travels to a city or town in The Netherlands, wearing his red bishop's robes. He travels with his servants called 'Zwarte Pieten' ('Black Peters'). When Sinterklaas and the Black Peters come ashore from the boat, all of the local church bells ring in celebration. Sinterklaas then leads a procession through the town, riding a white horse. If he visits Amsterdam, he meets the Queen in the Palace.”

From the one hundred year old booklet titled, “Christmas Around the World!”


“The Spirit of Christmas is the Spirit of Giving in many countries. The Netherlands are dedicated to this spirit on Sint Nicklass Avond – with much festivity and is the occasion for the joining of the family circle.

Sint Nicklass has been ordained the Patron Saint of many countries, but his greatest ordination was that of Patron Saint of the Children and when the carillons beloved by all Netherlanders sing from the bell towers and fill the silver air on Sint Nicklass Avond, the fireplaces and window sills of the homes are studded with the wooden shoes of the children.

Stuffed with hay and carrots and with a dish of water placed alongside of them, the shoes provide refreshments for the good Bishop’s white horse on which he will ride through the streets accompanied by his little Moorish servant, Black Piet. Later the hay will be replaced by candies and small gifts, toys and other pleasant surprises, to show that the Saint’s horse stopped at the children’s door.

The older people hallow the memory of his anonymous philanthropy and quite benevolence by disguising their identify as gift-givers. Many devices are used to make for anonymity, as well as to disguise the gift. After the merriment of exchanging of presents, punch and other hot, specially prepared holiday drinks and delicacies are served and the Christmas Season is entered in upon.” ~~~

There is another history book that speaks of a rider on a white horse. That old and dear book is divided into two sections, the “Old” and the “New” Testaments. Could these customs of long ago have been a foretelling when Christ would return to the earth – not as a babe in a manger – but a victor riding on a white horse to cleanse the world of all evil - once and for all.

This white horse was foretold in the Old Testament in Zechariah and then once again in the New Testament in the book of Revelation.

Zechariah 1:8

During the night I had a vision, and there before me was a man mounted on a red horse. He was standing among the myrtle trees in a ravine. Behind him were red, brown and white horses.

Zechariah 6:6

The one with the black horses is going toward the north country, the one with the white horses toward the west, and the one with the dappled horses toward the south.”

Revelation 6:2

I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and He was given a crown, and He rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.

Revelation 19:11

“The Heavenly Warrior Defeats the Beast. I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice He judges and wages war.

Revelation 19:14

The armies of heaven were following Him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean.

Revelation 19:13-15 (in Context) Revelation 19 (Whole Chapter)

Mary rode on a donkey into Bethlehem and Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey; which is a symbol of humbleness. When Jesus returns He will be riding on a white horse as a King and conqueror in victory over satan.

Jesus did not just come as a babe for us to have a reason to celebrate Christmas nor did He die on the cross so we could hunt Easter eggs. But his first and second coming was to redeem the lost world from the sin perpetrated by satan and performed in the garden.

Jesus came as our hope of eternal life to those who accept him.

“For God soooooo loved the world that He GAVE His only begotten Son (the greatest gift ever given) so that the world would not perish.

Seek the lord today while there is still time and while He can still be found. Rejoice in knowing that when the white horse comes – eternity will abound into a perfect world and sin, evil, and pain, and sorrow will be defeated forever and ever. Are you looking for the white horse or do you tremble at the thought?

We know not what hour He will return; but as sure as the sun rose this morning until He does... we will go into eternity one by one... and we can all be ready no matter which. To understand the transformation that God makes in our lives today, you may wish to check out these “Four Spiritual Laws.” They will lead you safety to Jesus.

If you are enjoying these articles and wish to have future ones delivered straight to your inbox, you may wish to subscribe. It is free. You will find hundreds of articles written by this writer at the Examiner Content page above.



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