Traditional Dutch folklore about St. Nick includes his servant called Zwarte Piet, or “Black Pete”. December 5th is Sinterklaas, the St. Nicholas feast day, and some pageants, parades, and parties include people dressing up in a Zwart Piet costume. The origin stories of Black Pete vary a bit, so the reason for his blackface depiction is either that he’s a Spanish Moor or he is covered in soot from going down a chimney.
There’s been debate in The Netherlands about whether or not Zwarte Piet’s depiction is racist, but many Dutch see the character as a beloved part of a holiday tradition. Here are some Instagrams of this week’s festivities:
- U.S. President Barack Obama and leaders from 20 nations called for doubling clean energy research funding over the next five years at the Paris climate summit 🌍 ›
- The man accused in Friday's Planned Parenthood shooting in Colorado made his first court appearance. Charges are expected to be formally filed on Dec. 9. ›
- And there's a hilarious new rap meme of Pope Francis, thanks to a photo taken over the weekend of him giving his blessing 🙏🎤 ›