Dutch Traditions – Sint Maarten – 11th November

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Snoepjes, snoepjes & meer snoepjes! (snoepjes = sweeties or candy)

This is how the children see the Sint Maartens celebration on the 11th of November where they go from door to door with colourful lanterns singing songs in return for sweets or fruit.

Image of candy

Sint Maarten is originally a Catholic celebration and dates back to Roman times when it was said that a Roman Soldier, on a cold winter day, cut his cloak in half with his sword and gave it to a half-naked beggar.

Later he resigned from the army and founded a monastery in Western Europe.

The 11th of November is the day the saint officially died.

There are many different songs that the children sing when someone opens the door to them.

Here are two of the popular songs that the children sing;

Sint Maarten Sint Maarten

Sint Maarten Sint Maarten

De Koeien hebben staarten

De meisjes hebben rokjes aan

Daar komt Sint Martinus aan


Saint Martin, Saint Martin

The cows have tails

The girls are wearing skirts

Sint Martinus is coming

11 November is de dag

11 November is de dag

dat mijn lichtje

dat mijn lichtje

11 November is de dag

dat mijn lichtje schijnen mag


11 November is the day

That my little light

That my little light

11 November is the day

That my little light may shine

Sint Maartens is only celebrated in certain parts of Nederlands but it is steadily increasing and becoming more popular in other areas.

The neighbourhood where we live has now organised this it quite well if you want to take part and give the children sweets you put candles and lanterns in your window or in front of your house.

The children then only knock on the doors of the people who are taking part.

Some children make their lanterns at home, while others use shop-bought ones (the light sticks and lanterns can be bought very cheaply from places like Hema, Kruidvat, Trekpleister & Action).

Colourful Sint Maartens Lanterns

The amount of sweets that the kids manage to score is huge, I personally try to fob as many sweets away as possible for use throughout the year but this is easier said than done.

I find it difficult to prise the booty out of their little fingers as they try to cram it all in before bedtime.

You can find more information about Saint Martin here;

Saint Martins РWikipedia (English Language)

Sint Maartin – Wikipedia (Nederlands)

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