Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, consisting of twelve provinces in North-West Europe and three islands in the Caribbean.
The European part of the Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders with Belgium, Germany and the United Kingdom. It is a parliamentary democracy organised as a unitary state. The Netherlands in its entirety is often referred to as “Holland”, although North and South Holland are actually only two of its provinces.
The Capital and largest city of this country is Amsterdam.
Christmas Celebrations in Netherlands :
Netherland has a pre-Christmas celebration that is derived from its political and religious philosophy, and local folklore. Christmas celebrations begin from the last Saturday of November as the locals begin preparations to celebrate St Nicholas Day on 6th of December. Legend has it that he is accompanied by a servant named Black Peter who was the devil that St Nicholas captured and enslaved. Black Peter is usually depicted with horns and red eyes. 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 servant called Zwarte Piet (Black Peter). When Sinterklaas and Black Peter come ashore from the boat, all of the local church bells ring in celebration. The festivity continues until Epiphany, also called “Driekoningen” in Dutch, on January 6th.
Just before Christmas, a tradition known as Midwinter Horn Blowing is practiced in the rural eastern parts of the country where farmers make long horns from trees. The horn is blown by men, standing over the wells to create a sound that announces the birth of Christ. From traditional church mass to local celebrations, delicious gastronomic treats and week long special fetes, you can be assured of a fun-filled Dutch holiday on Christmas.
Christmas in Netherland is celebrated for two consecutive days, i.e. December 25th and 26th, which are both observed as public holidays. The first Christmas Day, i.e. 25th December, is known as “Eerste Kerstdag” meaning “the first day of Christmas” while the second day, i.e. December 26th is called “Tweede Kerstdag” meaning “Boxing Day”. Christmas celebrations include a traditional church ceremony and a traditional family meal which comprises of hare, goose, turkey, Kerstbrood (Christmas loaf), Kerstkrans (Christmas Ring), gourmetten and Pannekoeken (pancake). On the first day Christmas carols are sung and the birth of Christ is enacted and other popular Christmas tales are narrated. The second day is spent with fun-filled, leisure activities that involve attending dinner parties, plays, symphonies and eating out with friends.
How to Wish “Merry Christmas” in Dutch?
- Prettige Kerstfeest/Vrolijke Kerstmis – Merry Christmas
- Gelukkige Kerstmis – Happy Christmas
- Seizoenen groet – Seasons Greetings
- Vrolijke Kerstmis en Gelukkige Nieuwjaar – Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
We wish all readers Merry Christmas 2016 & Prosperous New Year 2017 !!!