Saturday 16 January 2021

‘Sprouts not sweets’ advice for Sint-Maarten leaves bitter taste

Children going door to door with paper lanterns during the traditional Sint-Maarten festivities

Children will not be going door to door on November 11 this year. Photo: Wikipedia

As if to prove nothing is immune from the curse of 2020, Amsterdam city council is suggesting parents give their children sprouts rather than sweets at this year’s Sint-Maarten celebrations.

Traditionally the feast day of St Martin of Tours, or Martinmas, on November 11 is celebrated by children who go door to door with paper lanterns, singing songs such as Sinte Sinte Maarten while collecting fruit and sweets.

However, this year the saint’s day falls during the two-week enhanced lockdown, when gatherings of more than two are prohibited, so families will have to mark the occasion at home.

The city council posted tips on its website for wholesome and safe ways to enjoy the festivities at home, but some left a sour taste in the mouth.

‘Let your children sing songs for you at your own front door. Reward them with a sweet or “something healthy”,’ it said. ‘Sprouts, for example. Whatever suits you best. Because this year it’s in your own hands.’

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