Colorful and curious / Colorido y curioso

La versión en español está después de la versión en inglés.

The Netherlands have a character called Zwarte Piet (Black Pete) who was said to be the companion of Sinterklaas (Saint Nicholas). The first appearance of Black Pete was in a children’s book in 1850, where he was Santa’s “servant.” It’s since been a Christmas tradition. A person [a white person] paints on black face, a curly wig, and bright red lipstick. White supremacists in the Netherlands have violently defended the tradition of Zwarte Piet. But, thanks to some enlightenment and years of arguing, a new version of Black Pete was introduced. He’s called Schoorsteen Piet (Chimney Pete), a person whose face is smeared with soot from going down chimneys with Saint Nicholas. However, some people [white people] still don’t see the problem with the original. Several years ago, two Dutch [white] expats we know complained about the change and disagreed with me when I told them what I thought and why. “It’s a tradition,” they said. I find it infuriating that every year someone dresses up as Black Pete and marches with the Dutch contingent in the international fair parade. I didn’t take photos of the offensive jerk and I hope I haven’t brought anyone down with my commentary. The rest of today’s images are, I hope, simply entertaining.


Los Países Bajos tienen un personaje llamado Zwarte Pete (Pedro Negro) del que se decía que era el compañero de Sinterklaas (Papá Noel). La primera aparición de Zwarte Piet fue en un libro para niños en 1850, donde era el “sirviente” de Papá Noel. Desde entonces ha sido una tradición navideña. Una persona [una persona blanca] pinta sobre una cara negra, una peluca rizada y con lápiz labial rojo brillante. Los supremacistas blancos en los Países Bajos han defendido violentamente la tradición de Zwarte Piet. Pero, gracias a un poco de iluminación y años de discusión, se presentó una nueva versión de Zwarte Piet. Se llama Schoorsteen Piet (Pedro Chiminea), una persona que tiene la cara manchada de hollín por bajar por las chimeneas con Papá Noel. Sin embargo, algunas personas [personas blancas] todavía no ven el problema con el original. Hace varios años, dos expatriados [blancos] holandeses que conocemos se quejaron del cambio y no estuvieron de acuerdo conmigo cuando les dije lo que pensaba y por qué. “Es una tradición”, dijeron. Me enfurece que todos los años alguien se vista como Zwarte Piet y marche con el contingente holandés en el desfile de la feria internacional. No tomé fotos del idiota ofensivo y espero no haber derribado a nadie con mi comentario. El resto de imágenes de hoy son, espero, simplemente entretenidas.

• It’s pure Columbian! Poor decision to have a one-sided Juan Valdez on display in a parade. At least I think it was Juan Valdez.
• ¡Es puramente colombiano! Mala decisión de exhibir en un desfile a un Juan Valdez unilateral. Al menos creo que fue Juan Valdez.
• Fuengirola TV
• Do you think maybe Warsteiner paid?
• ¿Crees que tal vez pagó Warsteiner?
• I have no idea.
• No tengo ni idea.
• What does that big gold thing look like to you? My first thought was butt plug.
• ¿Qué te parece esa gran cosa dorada? Mi primer pensamiento fue un tapón anal.
• Finland is 2nd in the world (after Canada) for number of people participating in ice hockey. We don’t have ice.
• Finlandia ocupa el segundo lugar en el mundo (dsspués de Canada) en número de personas que participan en hockey sobre hielo. No tenemos hielo.
• Did you know Belgium is famous for cowboys? According to the 2018 World Equestrian Games, the world’s best cowboy was Flemish from Belgium. Are those cowboy sneakers?
• ¿Sabías que Bélgica es famosa por los vaqueros? Según los Juegos Ecuestres Mundiales de 2018, el mejor vaquero del mundo fue de Flandes en Bélgica. ¿Son esas zapatillas de deporte de vaquero?
• Belgian bumble bee? Belgian prisoner on work release?
• Abejorro belga? ¿Prisionero belga en libertad condicional?
• Classy.
• Muy pera.
• I’m glad we’re not in Florida.
• Me alegro de que no estemos en Florida.
• Is the cameraman actually shooting upskirt?!?
• ¿¡¿El camarógrafo realmente está grabando bajo la falda?!?
• She seemed to have a lot of very surprised friends.
• Parecía tener muchos amigos muy sorprendidos.

Click the thumbnails to enlarge.
Haz clic en las miniaturas para ampliar.

Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

26 thoughts on “Colorful and curious / Colorido y curioso”

  1. Looks like great fun. There are those who cling to the past to try to justify uncivilized behaviour.

    1. David:
      And who obviously themselves have no experience of serious discrimination… and no empathy.

  2. Like I said yesterday the parade seems to be Lively and fun and I also noticed people are more coordinately dressed than those on the street!

    But I’m wondering why the people on the Colombian float chose to have Donald Trump on it?

      1. Kirk:
        At times the dancers looked like they were worshipping that gold thing. Maybe they were rethuglicans and that was the Giant Cheeto.

    1. Mistress Borghese:
      Oh, no, they decided against the horse’s ass and just went with and ass instead.

  3. Loving the festivities; how fun.
    Black Face is not a tradition; it’s an insult, and the new version of Black Pete is not only better but makes more sense.
    If your tradition is racist, please rethink.

    1. Bob:
      I always had the idea in my head that the Netherlands were totally enlightened. I guess it’s not all Amsterdam. Also, it’s not uncommon for expats to not appreciate the changes going on in their own countries in their absence.

  4. ¿Los Estados Unidos tienen una entrada en el desfile? ¿Y donde podemos encontrar una de esas sombrillas para el Dr. Spo?

    Does the US have an entry in the festival? And where can we find one of those umbrellas for Dr. Spo?

    1. BadNoteB:
      Sí, había porristas patinando sobre ruedas, el Tío Sam sobre zancos y, por supuesto, Marilyn Monroe en la parte trasera de un descapotable. Para Urspo, busque en Google sombrilla “japonesa”, “china” o “asiática” para adultos.

  5. I imagine “I have no idea” is the British contingent (since that’s how the locals usually see the Brits and figure that’s their national dress). That was my first thought too on the gold thingy; I think it’s supposed to be the World Cup. Netherlandish persons can often be quite peculiar and obtuse. I think the windmills generate addlepating radiation.

    1. Wicked Hamster:
      Surprisingly, that guy was in the Thailand contingent. He was pushing the cart with the amp and coolers full of water bottles.

      Of course, the World Cup!!!

      Zwarte Piet really, seriously, pisses me off.

  6. Yay Finland! The world needs more hockey! (Note: true hockey fans do not specify “ice hockey” because THERE IS NO OTHER KIND).

    Racist traditions are not justifiable simply because they’re “traditions.” That goes for all other kinds of hateful traditions as well.

    1. Debra:
      I felt obligated to specify ice hockey since in this case they were wearing roller skates. We, the uninformed, wouldn’t know. I agree with you about traditions. How dare anyone defend hatred, ignorance, and disrespect with the excuse that it’s a tradition

  7. Was there a US entry? Who was the gentleman in black and orange representing? And I agree with you completely… there’s no place for black face portrayals anymore. It’s just wrong.

    1. Kelly:
      There was a US entry. My photos were meh. There were roller-skating cheerleaders, Uncle Sam on stilts, and Marilyn Monroe riding in the back of a convertible. I can’t remember what else. But we also had the Statue of Liberty at the fair itself. I’ll be sharing that photo tomorrow.

      “I’m not racist. It’s a tradition.” Please. Racist, ignorant, and cruel.

  8. Racism is racism no matter how you package it. Some people choose not to agree.
    Would LOVE to see this parade!

    1. Jim:
      I know you and I agree! The parade is fun to see. But in looking back in my photos from earlier years, there was much more variety before. I think they’re trying to focus specifically on countries and not private groups — like a non-denominational oom-pah band or the Sevillage People from Sevilla.

  9. I can see where that TV interviewer keeps his spare boom mike!

    There are plenty of “ancient” folk traditions that are indefensible in this day and age (bull fighting, anyone?) and, truth be told, were probably never that “ancient” at all but invented during the late Victorian (or equivalent in other countries) “rural craze” – when such things as the Welsh Eisteddfod, the Olympic Games, Sottish Highland Games, the Easter Bunny and Morris Dancing were all spuriously “revived” – which in itself was a knee-jerk reaction too the griminess of that very industrialised Imperial era, and sought to look back to a non-existent “Golden Age”. The “blackface” Zwarte Piet himself is a later interpretation of a traditional demon a bit like Krampus, but, being as the “folk boom” coincided with the burgeoning slave trade the Dutch probably thought nothing of it. Jx

    1. Jon:
      The interviewer WAS pleasant to look at. But he kept getting in the way of my photos AND he kept interrupting paraders for interviewers. Many had to tell him they needed to keep on moving. He covered a lot of ground though and worked the entire time… and was very pleasant. And then there was that spare mike.

    1. Kirk:
      Well, I hope the fugitive is very happy here. And I hope DeSantis rots in hell.

  10. Just because something is “a tradition” doesn’t mean it should continue, right?

    You got some great shots! Though that one woman with the body paint is a little TMI.

    1. Steve:
      Yeah, slavery was a tradition, too. I wonder why Body-painted decided to do that, other than that she could.

    1. Sassybear:
      Yep, that’s the way it works. Besides, as this acquaintance explained, she’s not racist. An Irish expat who had lived in London for years complained about “Arabs” not adopting Christianity in the UK. “I’m not racist, it’s just tradition.” We told him he was racist.

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