Léiwe Kleeschen, gudde Kleeschen

Kind Saint Nicolas, Good Saint Nicolas,
brings us all kinds of good things…
— Traditional Luxembourgish Carol

Schéi Kleeserchersdag! Happy Saint Nicholas Day! Or, as the partially-Dutch Bakker household says, “Happy Sinterklaas Day!”

Your best source of information on the holiday of December 6th is David Sedaris‘s “Six to Eight Black Men,” especially in audio form.

After listening to that story dozens of times over the past several years, Anita was determined to welcome Saint Nicolas (Kleeschen in Luxembourgish) to Luxembourg. He was scheduled to arrive by train on Sunday the 4th — presumably to allow enough time to find all of the naughty Luxembourgish children and give them their due.

At first, Anita regretted going out in the rain. There wasn’t a whole lot of holiday spirit on the wet streets.

But then Saint Nick turned out of the parking lot and she got a nice photo of his ride.

Long live Kleeschen!

The city government made sure to provide a nice backdrop for the official photos.

“Schwaarze Péiter” according to the Luxembourgish Wikipedia, “Housécker” according to the local newspaper, the dark side of December 6th is otherwise known as “Black Peter.” He wasn’t easy to capture on film. As the wikipedia says, “Foreign tourists, particularly Americans, often experience culture shock upon encountering the character (to dress in blackface is a gross taboo in America).” (The shock must have made Anita’s hands shake.) It seems that this part of the tradition didn’t make it to Wisconsin. (Thanks to Corry for the link!)

Saint Nicolas is a far less controversial figure. If I had to describe him to an American without photos, I’d call him a more dignified and less jolly version of Santa Claus. It wouldn’t be far from the actual story to say that he’s Santa before the marketers got hold of him.

The tourist train was bedecked for its saint-pulling duties.

St Nick had two visits in this part of the city: the Christmas Market, and the Children’s Hospital.

Housécker was just a few steps behind. (Somehow, writing his name in Luxembourgish makes it seem more acceptable to me.)

The name is troubling enough. But the real scandal is what Housécker had come to Luxembourg to do. Once again, I implore you to listen to David Sedaris’s masterpiece.

To see the truth, we must ENHANCE!

That’s a child’s leg, ladies and gentlemen. The naughty children of Luxembourg will be taken by Saint Nicolas and Housécker to Spain — where property values are depressed, government debt holds back the economy, and a right-wing government just came to power. The horror!

As the two walking contradictions gave out treats (and possibly added to their haversack of naughty children), local helpers adjusted the heat on their surrey.

There are more photos from the local newspaper, the Wort. As far as we know, the Bugle is your only source for 2011 Kleeschen VIDEO!

Errr… it seems that YouTube might wind up in Housécker’s sack before long. You’ll have to check back later to see that exclusive video.

3 Comments to “Léiwe Kleeschen, gudde Kleeschen”

  1. Dave said...
    6 December 2011

    The real consipracy here is that the Luxembourg Police are protecting Housécker in his mission.

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