Sinterklaas rides again: Dutch Saint Nick visits Canarsie on horseback for museum’s holiday bash

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Smells good: Asilakhon Melibava made a pomander — an orange covered with sweet-smelling herbs and spices — at the event.
December donuts: Zach Stein made fresh doughnuts at the Wyckoff House Museum’s Sinterklaas event.
Santa on a stallion: Sinterklaas rode in on Schimmel, his horse.
Naughty or nice: Youngsters wrote in the jolly man’s red book to note whether they were naughty or nice all year.

It’s a beloved holiday tradition, borrowed from the Dutch!

Brooklynites flocked to Canarsie’s Wyckoff House Museum on Saturday for the historical home’s annual Saint Nicholas Day bash, which organizers said honors the patron saint of children known as “Sinterklaas” to the Dutch, and celebrates the holiday traditions of Kings County’s early Dutch settlers.

“It gives people a taste of wider cultural influences,” said Melissa Branfman, the museum’s executive director.

Some 150 locals came out for the festivities, which the hosts based off of Christmas pastimes enjoyed by 17th-century Dutch immigrants to the borough, Branfman said.

Activities included crooning traditional old-timey holiday tunes with colonial balladeer Linda Russell, decorating traditional Dutch clogs called klompen, and snacking on Dutch donuts, known as oliebollen.

But the real fun began when Sinterklaas rode in on horseback, after which, youngsters got to feed carrots and hay to his trusty horse Schimmel.

And after the man of the hour stowed his steed, he read the kids a book about himself called “The Baker’s Dozen: A Saint Nicholas Tale,” before posing for pictures with them, and then letting the tots sign their names on the naughty and nice lists he keeps in his “red book.” (Spoiler alert: they all signed the “nice” list.)

Reach reporter Julianne McShane at (718) 260–2523 or by e-mail at Follow her on Twitter @juliannemcshane.
Posted 9:30 am, December 6, 2018
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