Zwarte Piet

Someone playing Zwarte Piet (Schiedam, 2009)

Zwarte Piet (pronounced [ˈzʋɑrtə ˈpit]; English: Black Pete or Black Peter, Luxembourgish: Schwaarze Péiter, Indonesian: Pit Hitam) is the companion of Saint Nicholas (Dutch: Sinterklaas, Luxembourgish: Kleeschen, Indonesian: Sinterklas) in the folklore of the Low Countries. The character first appeared in an 1850 book by Amsterdam schoolteacher Jan Schenkman. Traditionally, Zwarte Piet is said to be black because he is a Moor from Spain.[1] Those portraying Zwarte Piet typically put on blackface make-up and colourful Renaissance attire, in addition to curly wigs, red lipstick, and earrings. In recent years, the character has become the subject of controversy, especially in the Netherlands.

Traditions

The Zwarte Piet character is part of the annual feast of St. Nicholas, celebrated on the evening of 5 December (Sinterklaasavond, that is, St. Nicholas' Eve) in the Netherlands, Aruba, and Curaçao, and on 6 December in Belgium, when presents and accompanying sweets are distributed to children.[2] The characters of Zwarte Pieten appear only in the weeks before Saint Nicholas's feast, first when the saint is welcomed with a parade as he arrives in the country (generally by boat, having traveled from Madrid, Spain). The tasks of the Zwarte Pieten are mostly to amuse children, and to scatter kruidnoten, pepernoten, and Strooigoed (special Sinterklaas sweets) for those who come to meet the saint as he visits schools, stores, and other places.

Other Languages
brezhoneg: Zwarte Piet
čeština: Zwarte Piet
Deutsch: Zwarte Piet
español: Zwarte Piet
فارسی: پیتر سیاه
Frysk: Swarte Pyt
한국어: 즈바르터 핏
Bahasa Indonesia: Pit hitam
italiano: Zwarte Piet
Basa Jawa: Piet Ireng
Limburgs: Zwarte Piet
Nederlands: Zwarte Piet
polski: Zwarte Piet
português: Zwarte Piet
русский: Чёрный Пит
српски / srpski: Црни Пит
svenska: Zwarte Piet
walon: Hanscroufe
中文: 黑彼得