ISA Students Celebrate Sint Maarten

Last week, ISA Lower School students celebrated the Dutch festival of Sint Maarten as part of their language classes. The tradition of Sint Maarten is celebrated every year on 11 November in countries around the world and, of course, the Netherlands. 

The celebration originated with the Catholic Church in France to honour the life of St. Martin, who is known for an account of him using his sword to cut his cloak in two and giving half to a freezing beggar in the winter. Since then, the festival has gained popularity and spread across Europe, traditionally coinciding with the annual harvest at the end of autumn and signalling the beginning of winter. The Netherlands marks the occasion with groups of children going door-to-door in the neighbourhoods with homemade paper lanterns and singing songs in exchange for treats. 

ISA students had a lot of fun learning about the history of Sint Maarten and festival traditions in class. On the day of the celebration, they knocked on the door of other language classes, singing their ‘begging’ songs and receiving treats such as mandarins, raisins and small candy as a reward. In addition, pre-Kindergarten students enjoyed taking part in an assembly to play the role of Sint Maarten and explain why the Netherlands still celebrates the holiday every year.

Many thanks to our Dutch department for organising the celebration of this fun local tradition for students!