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Every December the Dutch Santa (Sinterklaas) bursts onto the under six scene, with his dear friends all named “Black Peter”.

Dutch Santa hails from Spain, where he and his Peters live in race-neutral harmony. Every December 6 they sail to the promised lands of Flanders and Netherlands to spread the joy of present opening and soot covered skin.

The Black Peters climb down chimneys (hence the soot darkening their skin) and open front doors allowing our beautifully dressed Dutch Santa to enter houses freely without having to suffer Black Peter’s sooty fate.

It’s such a crazy annual tradition that no doubt would not translate at all to other cultures. For a country still nursing a very recent hangover of atrocities performed in the Congo last century, I find it very strange that such little noise is raised over this annual tradition of white leader and his “black followers”.

Perhaps though this is just my over sensitive Australian eyes not spotting an innocent childish tradition over my own queasiness of racism. In any case I’m curious to speak with more Belgians to know their opinions on our Peters!

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