Now Halloween is over and done with, Belgium’s next festive event won’t be known to all but concerns the arrival of an elderly man dressed in red bringing presents for the country’s children.
And no, his name isn’t Santa. It’s Sinterklaas.
This figure of winter celebrations will return to Antwerp this year, bringing presents for the children of Belgium when he arrives in the city on his steamship on 13 November.
The patron saint of children will arrive at around 1:45 PM on the pontoon at Steenplein, where he will be welcomed by Mayor Bart De Wever and Bart Peeters.
The procession will then head towards Steen, arriving at Grote Markt at around 2:45 PM. The holiday figure will then address children from the balcony of the Antwerp town hall.
The entire event can be followed live from 1:30 PM on all Ketnet platforms, Eén and VRT NU, Ketnet.be. A repeat with Flemish sign language will be broadcast later.
So who is Sinterklaas?
The Netherlands and Belgium have a long-standing tradition of celebrating the Winter holiday story of Sinterklaas, who is said to visit children’s homes to bring presents and treats on the evening of 5 (the Netherlands) or 6 (Belgium) December.
The visit was traditionally the time when the saint announced if all of the children of Belgium had been good this year.
He then brings small presents and sweets to the good children of the country, so don’t forget to set out a shoe (the gifts are placed in a shoe).