Winter is coming!!! …..Ok Im kinda late cause like winter is here. but….
Anyway. Everyone is gathering around fireplaces and preparing themselves for the holiday season. Alot of people are curious about whats happening here in Amsterdam, and I can tell you the last weeks………not that much
But ! as soon as we get to December 1, its already busy with us!
Cause we are awesome thats why.
Lots of fun things are coming up in the Dutch culture. For example the conversations around Zwarte Piet are popping up again. What is Zwarte Piet you ask?
Well. Happy you did.
This is a centuries old tradition, that is currently a hot topic around the world and especially in the Netherlands. While it is controversial, its roots are quite innocent. The conversation around it concerns of course people of color, like me. Black face is an age old practice that happened in the United States as a result of the slavery age. During this time, caucasians, and other nationalisties would dress up in black face, and make their lips redder than normal in order to jest or make fun of persons of color. They would act stupid, perform on stage, and be the joksters of the era. This lasted until the Jim Crow Laws of the 1960’s, but never completely faded away.
It would pop up here and there afterwards, and more and more attention was focused on it to drive it out of the hearts and minds of the public. Why?
Because its racists. Simple and point blank. Dressing up as anyone, and making fun of their culture, exaggerating their features, and especially stemming from the time of slavery is not a positive image that should be brought to today.
Somehow, in the Netherlands the Zwarte Piet craze is associated with Christmas. St Nicolaas, ( who is not the same as our Santa Claus or Ol’ Saint Nick) Is the patron saint of the seas and also the Christmas fixture of the Dutch culture.
He has a small slav ( slave) named Zwarte Piet, or Black pete, who goes into the chimneys of homes and delivers cookies ( Peppernoten) into the shoes hence the soot on his face, however , he is ( from legend) supposed to be Turkish.
then he should look like this
but there is a huge fight and struggle against changing it to this. ::face slap: Netherlands!
We talk about this, believe it or not on all of our tours because its connected with the Red Light District, and heavily hidden behind a thin veil of racism. There is so much resistance to the changing of Zwarte Piet in the Netherlands and honestly it breaks my heart. As a country of tolerance, and acceptance , this is the current civil rights movement happening here , and we at Oranje Umbrella are commited to telling the story to you guests, so enlighten and enlarge your knowledge!
So with that being said
Buy a ticket. Smoke some weed. Explore Amsterdam. Life complete. Rinse. Repeat.