For those of our faithful readers who did not grow up in the Dutch traditions, half of the real Saint Nicholas is buried in Spain. On the name day of Saint Nicholas, December 5th in the Netherlands, he and his mischievous helper, Black Peter, sail their steamboat around Europe and make their annual appearance in Amsterdam.
On years where the full moon falls on Saint Nicholas Day, you’d better watch out. And you’d better not cry. Because Black Peter will hear you as he climbs down the chimney.
Trust us – you don’t want Black Peter to find you. Or Saint Nick, for that matter. That full moon really makes him cranky. (See “Saint Nick” for more historical accuracies about Sinterklaas.)
On basically any other year, Sinterklaas and Black Peter come to bring gifts to all the good children. And then they steal all the bad children away to Spain.
Because there is no greater punishment than being sent away to Spain.