Day 17: Sinterklaas tradition

Every year, Sint Nicolaas (Saint Nicolas) also called Sinterklaas, arrives in Holland mid November to celebrate his birthday (eve) on the 5th December. Traditionally he arrives by steamboat from Spain, where he normally lives. He is accompanied by zillions of Zwarte Pieten or "Black Peters", who are his assistants. They are a cross between a boogie man and a clown, scaring the kids as well as entertaining them. He rides on a white horse on rooftops, drops presents through the chimneys and may visit you on the 5th December. Gifting is done with lots of fun, anonymously. Gift can be disguised, can be jokes, can be used to hackle someone etc. Gifts are often accompanied with poems/ stories in rhyme form. There are many secular songs related to this folk fest that became the inspiration for Christmas and Santa in many other cultures. He is a clip from the official arrival of Sinterklaas in the harbour of Schiedam.

There are not many traditions left in contemporary Holland, but this one seems to survive the ages where Christmas is merely a religious festival. These days gifting happens at Christmas time as well, but it can’t compete with the original Sinterklaas celebrations.

Day 16: lesson in trust

Just as I am trying to convince myself that going to Sydney for a long weekend to film at Mardi Gras 2010 is an extravagance I cannot afford, unexpected money is coming in to proof me wrong.

Day 15: Guy Fawkes

Silly man, tried to blow up the British Parliament a looong time ago. What that's got to do with New Zealand I don't know, but I enjoyed the traditional fireworks nevertheless, the smell, the vibrating thunder, the spectacle of light... It's is a childhood thing, New Year's Eve is my birthday and the New year is heralded in with lots of fireworks in Holland, brings back happy memories.

The strangest picture I have ever taken of fireworks.

day 14: when work is play

I have been quite busy lately, trying as best as I can to balance work, life, developing my house design and making a film. An increased workload became enjoyable last week, eventhough I was working on a Sunday. I was asked to make art on camera for a DVD production for the school where I work. I created 2 large mixed media works on paper, mainly a collage of mono prints about the theme of pilgrimage. These two relating to a tall tower (about 100m) in my place of birth; Amersfoort, which used to be a pplace of pilgrimage. 2 details on one panel and 1 shot of the entire second panel 0.8x2.4m