Gifts of St. Nicholas...

Three years ago I wrote a  this  post in which I showed two cookie boards (cookie molds) on which St. Nicholas is depicted.  If you are a ...



Three years ago I wrote a this post in which I showed two cookie boards (cookie molds) on which St. Nicholas is depicted.  If you are a regular reader of my blog you will probably know by now that the feast of St. Nicholas is a Dutch tradition, celebrated on December 5th.


There are many traditions associated with the feast of St. Nicholas, one of them is eating 'speculaas', a  spiced cookie which is molded on wooden cookie boards.  


Speculaas is not exclusive to St. Nicholas.  In 17th century Holland,  young men would buy and decorate a speculaas cookie in the shape of a man called 'the lover', to give to a girl they wanted to court.  After a date, the girl would give the cookie back to the young man.  If she had eaten the head of the cookie, it meant she liked the young man.  If she had eaten the legs, it meant he'd better take a hike.  


My collection of speculaas boards has grown lately.  These were a gift from Arjen Spinhoven as a thank you for a favour which led to a nice commission for him.  These speculaas boards were made with laser on wood, which is what Arjen specializes in.  He has a large collection of wonderful furniture and accessories,  houses and building elements for many dolls house scales.


As it happens, I was in a local museum yesterday where I saw a huge collection of speculaas boards.  Beautiful carvings in wood.  Some of them specifically for St. Nicholas.  It immediately made me want to carve them myself in wood.  So who knows, by the next St. Nicholas feast I may have an even bigger collection...;-)  


Happy St. Nicholas Day!




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28 comments

  1. Happy St. Nicholas Day Josje! ;-)
    How nice of him to have sent you those lovely speculaas boards. They are beautiful. It would be fun to carve your own. I look forward to seeing yours someday.

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    1. Thank you Catherine. I think I will ask the museum if they'll let me copy one or two of their boards. They had some really beautiful ones.

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  2. Best wishes to you and your family

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  3. It is so fun to learn about the traditions of other countries, and even more so when the story is told with miniature art pieces! I had such a nice time reading your blog, and also over at Arjen Spinhoven's wonderful web shop. Thanks so much for the link! I can't wait to receive his kits!

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    1. You're welcome Jodi! Have fun with your kits.

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  4. These cookie boards are really lovely and make a LOVELY addition to your mini kitchen. So nice to have accessories that contain a national history and well as Beauty in their execution. Arjen's gifts are tiny treasure and look FAB on your aga.
    Happy St. Nicholas's day Josje!

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    1. Thank you Elizabeth. We had a wonderful celebration!

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  5. The work on the cookie boards is incredible, Josje! You've got quite a collection now.
    Have a great day
    Si

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    1. An accidental collection ;-) But I do like them and hope to add to them with my own carved ones one day.

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  6. Hi Josje! I Love your kitchen with the painted tiles and the AGA Stove! For many years I had an AGA stove and there was nothing so cozy as that warm stove! The St. Nicholas cookies are a wonderful tradition. We don't have those over here! Gingerbread men but not St. Nicholas cookies! Your boards are Gorgeous! And it is so interesting to see all the different patterns and shapes! Thank you for sharing these beautiful boards! Happy St. Nicholas Day!!!

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    1. Ah the AGA, I have a real one too, wouldn't be without it!
      I think the gingerbread men probably have a similar origin to the Sinterklaas cookies although they're not the same. We do have a type of gingerbread which we eat for breakfast in the Netherlands. We also have a type of St. Nicholas cookie which is very chewy, made mainly of honey, molasses and flour which again makes it similar to the gingerbread. Of course it is all connected and as I understand from reading about it, it all has Germanic roots.

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  7. Oh! And I just noticed your Shoes!!!! Lovely touch! They look so perfect!!! They make me smile! :)

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    1. The shoes have the same function as the stockings on the chimney, St. Nicholas puts the gifts in them! :-)

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  8. Feliz día de St. Nicholas,espero que haya llegado lleno de regalos tan bonitos como esos nuevos moldes de galletas,que por lo que cuentas,tienen que ser deliciosas!!
    Besos.

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    1. Thank you Pilar, that's a sweet wish!

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  9. En Belgique nous fêtons aussi Saint Nicolas et nous posons nos chaussures devant la cheminée et préparons une carotte pour son âne, jolies traditions ;-)

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    1. Yes Jean-Claude, they are wonderful traditions! And child or adult, we all enjoy it!

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  10. Ja, we hebben in Nederland een mooie geschiedenis met die Sinterklaastradities!
    Mooie scène, Josje.
    Fijn Sinterklaasfeest gwenst!
    Groetjes, Ilona

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    1. Dank je Ilona! Jij ook uiteraard (hoewel het al voorbij is!).

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  11. I had to laugh at the take a hike part of your post
    Very funny custom. Too bad we dont do that today


    Hugs
    Marisa

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    1. Haha yes it is funny isn't it. Well it would make dating less complicated, no guessing whether he or she likes you. And yes, there were also female 'lover' cookies. ;-)

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  12. Very interesting tradition! Boards are beautiful and original. Congratulations on the completion of collection! Happy St. Nicholas's day!
    Hugs

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    1. Thank you Юлия! It always surprises me that in these days these century old traditions are still going strong.

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  13. Hahaha eat the legs take a hike! Happy St. Nicholas day. The cookie boards are interesting, I'd never heard of such a thing. Awesome collection---

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    1. You could make fantastic cookie boards with your carving skills! Yes it is funny isn't it. Should be the other way around maybe, can't walk very far without legs ;-)

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  14. Interesting tradition. And your photos are lovely! Greetings from Montreal, Canada. :)

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    1. Thank you Linda. It always amazes me that some of these traditions have managed to continue for many centuries.

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