Last Monday it was november 11th. In some parts of The Netherlands this day is celebrated by kids knocking on doors carrying a lantern and singing songs, asking for sweets. It’s called Sint Maarten. Daughter has been singing the songs all year long, after she became a fan of all the kids that sang at our door last year. Below Daughter sings one of the most common songs.

One of the more famous Sint Maarten songs

Translated to English, she sings: Sint Maarten / The cows have tails / The girls wear skirts / There comes Sint Maarten

As I have very fond memories of Sint Maarten myself and have been very very pleased this city celebrates Sint Maarten (Enschede did not) I couldn’t wait for Daughter to be old enough to join this celebration. As she knew the songs very well, I asked her whether she wanted to go knocking on doors herself this time around. Yes, she said. My heart made a happy jump.

One of the fun parts is creating a lantern, so last Saturday I took Daughter to the shop so she could pick a color for her lantern. Back home we built a pink castle. Daughter drew the windows, I did all the cutting.

Cat admiring Daughter’s first Sint Maarten lantern

And then it became Monday November 11th. It was cold, it was wet, but in a short dry spell I took Daughter by the hand and went outside. I rang our neighboor’s doorbell, Daughter …. sang. After a little encouragement.

Daughter’s first Sint Maarten

She was overwhelmed by the whole concept, but loved getting the sweets. At our neighbours on the other side, she sang the whole song on her own. A proud mother was standing besides her.

All in all she went to four houses. That was enough for her. We went home, lit a candle to invite other kids and Daughter opened the door for them, handing them sweets. It was great fun. Back to parenting: rationing sweets.