This video, by the Daily Telegraph in England, recorded in Amsterdam in the Netherlands, says about itself:
17 November 2013
Sinterklaas, the Dutch version of Father Christmas and his blacked-up helpers Zwarte Pieten, or Black Peters, arrive in Amsterdam amid protests claiming the tradition is racist.
Sinterklaas is not really ‘the Dutch version of Father Christmas’. The festival is on 6 December (and mainly on 5 December, the evening before 5 December), remembering the Christian Saint Nicholas, a fourth-century bishop in what is today Turkey. Father Christmas, or Santa Claus, was derived from Sinterklaas later in the USA, and connected to Christmas, not 5 or 6 December.
Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands today:
Geert Wilders‘ xenophobic party in the Netherlands
will propose a bill which will protect Zwarte Piet.
Zwarte Piet (Black Pete) is a blackface character in the Dutch Saint Nicholas festival, supposed to be the servant of the saintly bishop. Zwarte Piet was added to the festival in the nineteenth century, when there still was slavery in the Dutch colonies. He is depicted as a caricature of nineteenth century house slaves, in servant’s uniform, with big red lips and golden earrings, speaking with a supposedly Surinamese accent.
The new law would require municipalities to keep Zwarte Piet black[face] at the festivities. There would also be a ban on modifying Saint Nicholas songs.
About 1960, a child opened a book of “traditional” Saint Nicholas songs.
One song in that book was Sinterklaas, die goede heer (Saint Nicholas, that good gentleman).
One song line in that song went: “Servant Piet, as black as soot, with a chain around his foot …”
The chain was also depicted in the picture on the same page.
“Mummy, why does Piet have a chain around his foot?”
“Because he is a slave, my child!”
UPDATE: Today, in 2014, that song is still on the Internet, including the “chain” line.
If Wilders wants to ban changing songs’ lyrics, then he will have very much work to do. Throughout history, old songs have been adapted with new lyrics. Protestant churches in the Netherlands and elsewhere have changed the lyrrics of their hymns and psalms frequently. Does Wilders want to jail the Protestant dignitaries responsible for that? He can’t jail all of them, as most are already dead. The Belgian national anthem’s lyrics have changed many times.
Let us take the Dutch national anthem, the Wilhelmus. Its original lyrics were in French. It was a satirical song by Roman Catholic Spanish soldiers mocking their Protestant enemies in 1568, as the Dutch revolt against the king of Spain started. If Wilders hates changing lyrics so much, then he may want to change the Wilhelmus back to its original anti-Protestant lyrics again.
This music video is called “O la folle entreprise du Prince de Condé“, song from about 1568. It is the original version of the Dutch national anthem, in French, by Spanish soldiers mocking their Protestant enemies.
Geert Wilders said in the television program Vandaag de Dag by WNL that he “wants to protect our culture.”