The Tradition of Saint Nicolas in Belgium, plus the Dutch Song “St. Nicolas Little Rascal”

Rudy Welvaert wrote to me about how the St. Nicolas holiday is celebrated in parts of Belgium and Holland…

Dear Mama Lisa,

Every year, in the night of the 5th to the 6th of December, Saint Nicolas brings presents to all the children who have been good. That evening children put out a shoe in front of the fireplace and put a carrot or a turnip in it for the horse of Saint Nicolas. Saint Nicolas also has a servant, he’s pictured as a black man (not very politically correct in our days, but that’s the tradition). His name in Dutch is “Zwarte Piet” (Black Peter). The tradition of Saint-Nicolas is in both the Dutch speaking part of Belgium, Vlaanderen (Flanders) and Holland very similar. And many songs are sung by the children.

Below you’ll find the words to one of the St. Nicolas songs Rudy sent me, with the English translation below it…

Sinterklaas Kapoentje

Sinterklaas Kapoentje,
Leg wat in mijn schoentje,
Leg wat in mijn laarsje,
Dank je Sinterklaasje!

Saint-Nicolas Little Rascal

Saint-Nicolas Little Rascal,
Put something in my little shoe,
Put something in my little boot,
Thank you little Saint-Nicolas!

Here’s a longer version…

Sinterklaas Kapoentje

Sinterklaas Kapoentje,
leg wat in mijn schoentje.
Een appeltje of een citroentje.
Een nootje om te kraken,
dat zal wel beter smaken.
Dankje Sinterklaasje!
Dankje Sinterklaasje!

Saint-Nicolas Little Rascal

Saint-Nicolas Little Rascal,
Put something in my little shoe,
A little apple or a little lemon,
A little nut to crack,
That will taste much better
Thank you little Saint-Nicolas!
Thank you little Saint-Nicolas!

Many thanks to Randy Welvaert for information about St. Nicolas in Belgium and for sending me St. Nicolas Little Rascal.

Come visit the Mama Lisa’s World Belgium Page for more children’s songs from Belgium and…

The Belgium page at Mama Lisa’s World en français for Belgian children’s songs with their French translations.

Happy St. Nicolas!

Lisa

This article was posted on Saturday, December 3rd, 2005 at 11:33 am and is filed under Belgian Children's Songs, Belgium, Children's Songs, Countries & Cultures, Dutch, Flanders, Flemish, Holiday Songs, Holidays Around the World, Holland, Languages, Sinterklaas Kapoentje - St. Nicolas Little Rascal, Songs by Theme, St. Nicholas Day, St. Nicholas Songs, St. Nicolas Little Rascal, St. Nicolas Songs. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 Responses to “The Tradition of Saint Nicolas in Belgium, plus the Dutch Song “St. Nicolas Little Rascal””

  1. Lien Says:

    Hi lisa,
    met je vertaling ben ik het niet helemaal eens…
    zo’n liedje kan je uberhaupt niet goed vertalen,
    maar zelf weten, thought of letting ya know

  2. Peter Says:

    “Kapoentje” is not a little rascal, but a castrated rooster. This probably refers to the fact that sinterklaas was a bishop, and therefore had to swear celibacy. Next to that, there was also a traditional figure called Klaas Kapoen, so these probably got mixed up. And of course, they needed something to rhyme with schoentje!

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