Sinterklaas (also called Sint-Nicolaas in Dutch and Saint Nicolas in French) is a traditional holiday figure in the Netherlands and Belgium, celebrated every year on Saint Nicholas’ eve (December 5) or, in Belgium, on the morning of December 6. The feast celebrates the name day of Saint Nicholas, patron saint of, among other things, children.
It is also celebrated to a lesser extent in parts of France (North, Alsace, Lorraine), as well as in Luxembourg, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Poland, Hungary, Croatia, Romania, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and in the town of Trieste and in Eastern Friuli in Italy. Additionally, many Roman Catholics of Alsatian and Lotharingian descent in Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.A celebrate "St. Nicholas Day" the morning of December 6. The traditions differ from country to country, even between Belgium and the Netherlands.
In the Netherlands, Saint Nicholas’ Eve, (December 5) is the chief occasion for gift-giving. The evening is called sinterklaas
PHOTO COURTESY OF: Ricardo Martins