Christmas On 5th

Summary: Christmas on 5th is a holiday that celebrates the arrival of Saint Nicholas in many European countries. It is also known as Sinterklaas or St. Nicholas Day. This holiday is celebrated on December 5th in the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, and some parts of Germany. In this article, we will explore the origins of this holiday, its traditions, and how it is celebrated.

1. The Origins of Christmas on 5th

Christmas on 5th celebrates the life of Saint Nicholas of Myra, a fourth-century bishop known for his generosity and kindness to children. He became the patron saint of children, sailors, and the poor. In many European countries, he is known as Sinterklaas, and his arrival is marked with parades and celebrations.

The legend goes that Saint Nicholas arrived in Spain by boat from Turkey, which is now his birthplace, with his helpers, known as Zwarte Piet (Black Peter). They then proceed on horseback through the streets, giving gifts and treats to good children. Bad children, on the other hand, are said to be put in a sack and taken back to Spain!

Over time, the tradition has evolved to include gift-giving, poems, and special sweets like pepernoten, kruidnoten, and taai-taai.

2. Traditions of Christmas on 5th

One of the main traditions of Christmas on 5th is the arrival of Sinterklaas, which usually takes place in mid-November. The arrival is marked by a parade, with Sinterklaas arriving on his white horse, followed by his helpers, the Zwarte Pieten.

Another tradition is shoe filling, where children leave a shoe by the fireplace or in front of the door, and Sinterklaas or his helpers fill it with candy and small gifts. In return, the children leave a drawing or poem for Sinterklaas and his helpers.

During this holiday season, families gather to celebrate with special foods like pepernoten, taai-taai, and marzipan. They also read poems and exchange gifts.

3. Celebrations in the Netherlands

In the Netherlands, Christmas on 5th is one of the most important holidays of the year, second only to Christmas Day. The arrival of Sinterklaas takes place a few weeks before the holiday, with his boat docking in a different city every year.

The holiday starts with the national celebration of Sinterklaas’ birthday, which is called Sinterklaasavond (Sinterklaas evening). On this day, families gather to exchange gifts, poems, and eat special treats like pepernoten and taai-taai.

Children are told that if they have been good throughout the year, Sinterklaas and his helpers will leave gifts for them in their shoes. The night before, kids might sing Sinterklaas songs, leave carrots for his horse, and put out their shoes by the chimney for the next morning.

4. Celebrations in Belgium

In Belgium, Christmas on 5th is celebrated by giving gifts, sweets, and chocolates to children. The parade of Sinterklaas usually takes place in November and includes brass bands and floats. In some parts of Belgium, Sinterklaas arrives by boat, while in others, he arrives on horseback.

On December 5th, children put carrots and hay in their shoes for Sinterklaas’s horse, hoping for a gift in return. The following day, children find small gifts or sweets in their shoes.

The holiday season in Belgium also includes the Feast of Saint Barbara, on December 4th, when people plant seeds in pots. If the plants grow up to Christmas, it is said that there will be good fortune in the coming year.

5. Celebrations in Luxembourg and Germany

Like in the Netherlands and Belgium, Christmas on 5th is celebrated with the arrival of Sinterklaas, gift-giving, and special treats like pepernoten and marzipan.

In Luxembourg, the holiday season culminates in the Light Festival, where thousands of lights illuminate the streets and buildings of the city. The festival usually takes place in early December and lasts for several weeks.

In some parts of Germany, Saint Nicholas Day is celebrated by children leaving a shoe outside their bedroom door on the evening of December 5th. If they have been good, they will find small treats like chocolate or fruit in their shoe. If they have been bad, they might find a lump of coal!


Christmas on 5th is a beloved holiday in many European countries, celebrating the generosity and kindness of Saint Nicholas of Myra. From the parade of Sinterklaas and his helpers to the shoe filling tradition and special treats, this holiday season brings families together to celebrate. Whether you are in the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg or Germany, Christmas on 5th is a time for sharing, giving, and spreading joy.

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