Like every Dutch child, I celebratedSinterklaas every year. According to Dutch tradition, Sinterklaas, or Saint Nicholas, arrives in the Netherlands from Spain each November for a visit that culminates in him delivering sweets and presents to well-behaved children on the night of 5 December. This year, Sinterklaas has sparked a debate so fierce that even the UN has become involved.
No one likes their festive traditions tampered with – imagine trying to implement a countrywide ban on Christmas trees in the UK – but emotions over Sinterklaas run deeper. Most Dutch people identify themselves as inherently liberal, yet attacks on Zwarte Piet have been construed as an attack on Dutch identity – which is political dynamite, given the rapid growth of the far-right in recent years.
See on www.newstatesman.com