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Quiz about Ware Zwarte Pieten
Quiz about Ware Zwarte Pieten

'Ware Zwarte Pieten! Trivia Quiz


Hello! I am back! My name is John, and I live in England in 1860. Have you ever heard of Zwarte Pieten? My cousin told me about him! St. Nicholas Day is approaching and its almost time for Sinterklaasavond. But beware!

A multiple-choice quiz by ponycargirl. Estimated time: 4 mins.
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Author
ponycargirl
Time
4 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
399,450
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
7 / 10
Plays
678
Awards
Top 35% Quiz
Last 3 plays: Guest 107 (6/10), DeepHistory (9/10), Guest 80 (5/10).
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Question 1 of 10
1. Zwarte Pieten's typical companion is St. Nicholas, Bishop of Myra in Turkey, but what is St. Nick's name when the two of them are together? Hint


Question 2 of 10
2. In which of the following regions of the world is Zwarte Pieten a central figure during the holidays? Hint


Question 3 of 10
3. What is NOT one of Zwarte Pieten's responsibilities when he comes to town? Hint


Question 4 of 10
4. Of course, the name Zwarte Pieten translates to Black Peter. Some believe the origin of this name relates to a cultural group to which he belongs. Which one? Hint


Question 5 of 10
5. Some say that the name Zwarte Pieten is not a reference to culture or race, but to the occupation in which he is employed. What is Zwarte Pieten's other known occupation? Hint


Question 6 of 10
6. Many historians today trace the origin of Zwarte Pieten to which of the following Norse gods? Hint


Question 7 of 10
7. If children are really bad, where does Zwarte Pieten take them? Hint


Question 8 of 10
8. Just ten years ago, in 1850, a book called "Sint Nikolaas en zijn Knecht" was published and included information about Zwarte Pieten. Who was the author of this book? Hint


Question 9 of 10
9. Zwarte Pieten leaves stones in the shoes of bad children.


Question 10 of 10
10. People in my day and time (1860) view the tradition of Zwarte Pieten as wildly racist. There have been talks of discontinuing the practice.



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Most Recent Scores
Apr 17 2024 : Guest 107: 6/10
Apr 03 2024 : DeepHistory: 9/10
Feb 27 2024 : Guest 80: 5/10
Feb 27 2024 : genoveva: 4/10

Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. Zwarte Pieten's typical companion is St. Nicholas, Bishop of Myra in Turkey, but what is St. Nick's name when the two of them are together?

Answer: Sinterklaas

Sinterklaas, a thin man dressed in a red robe who rides a horse named Amerigo, is a bishop from Turkey who seems to be very serious, carrying a big red book wherever he goes, and keeping track of everyone's behavior. Zwarte Pieten is his servant or slave - it is not exactly clear which. Some people believe that Zwarte Pieten was a slave and Sinterklaas purchased his freedom. Whatever is the case, Zwarte Pieten serves Sinterklaas. On the evening of December 5, which is called Sinterklaasavond, the two are seen in towns and villages together.
2. In which of the following regions of the world is Zwarte Pieten a central figure during the holidays?

Answer: Low Countries

The Low Countries include Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg, but the legend of Zwarte Pieten has spread! He is not only part of the seasonal festivity in those countries, but he is also seen in Aruba and Curacao, and other locations which were settled by the Dutch during their colonial period. Zwarte Pieten and St. Nicholas typically arrive by the second week of November, but their point of arrival may be different according to the country; in the Netherlands the port changes each year, but in Belgium they arrive at Antwerp. My cousin who lives in Antwerp thinks that nothing is better than being at the port for the arrival of the pair!
3. What is NOT one of Zwarte Pieten's responsibilities when he comes to town?

Answer: Feeding St. Nick's horse

The purpose of including Zwarte Pieten seems to be so that he can take care of punishments while Sinterklaas can reward the good, but Zwarte Pieten really does seem to take care of everything for Sinterklaas. He is quite a cheerful fellow, although he can be somewhat frightening for those children who are bad.

It is common to see Zwarte Pieten doing athletic stunts to please and entertain the crowd when he and his sidekick arrive. He also may pass out treats, although traditionally the children place their shoes either outside the door of the home or at the hearth with a treat for St. Nicholas and his horse.

Their presents or treats, which may be chocolate or traditional cookies such as kruidnoten or pepernoot, are left inside the shoes - but this is only for the good ones!
4. Of course, the name Zwarte Pieten translates to Black Peter. Some believe the origin of this name relates to a cultural group to which he belongs. Which one?

Answer: Moor

During the Middle Ages, the term Moor was used to describe Muslims who lived in northwestern Africa, and eventually on the Iberian Peninsula, Sicily, or Malta. While the term was not used to describe a race of people, it was used along with the name Saracen to denote Muslims from Africa.

Some were black skinned - like Othello in Shakespeare's play that we have been studying at school - and some were olive-skinned. Some people believe the fact that Zwarte Pieten has black skin implies that he is a slave or servant to his companion.

It is a tradition for those people who dress up as Black Peter to wear blackface.
5. Some say that the name Zwarte Pieten is not a reference to culture or race, but to the occupation in which he is employed. What is Zwarte Pieten's other known occupation?

Answer: Chimney sweep

Miraculously, Zwarte Pieten cleans the chimneys and only his face - not any of his medieval-looking clothes - is covered with cinders. There is also the belief that the idea of a black companion goes back even further in legend and might represent the dark one - Satan, who was put in chains by Sinterklaas because good always triumphs over evil.

Indeed, many countries have representations of a similar character - like the Krampus that I told you about last year.
6. Many historians today trace the origin of Zwarte Pieten to which of the following Norse gods?

Answer: Odin

During an event called the Wild Hunt, Odin would ride his steed, Sleipnir, from home to home on the shortest day of the year, the winter solstice. He would lead ancestral ghosts, who sometimes could become very violent if encountered by humans. His ravens also traveled with him; it was their job to listen at the chimney to hear how the people were behaving.

The purpose of the Wild Hunt was to bless the land. Odin became St. Nicholas, who, riding a white or grey horse, would go from home to home, dropping gifts down chimneys. Zwarte Pieten took over the ravens' job of listening at the chimney.
7. If children are really bad, where does Zwarte Pieten take them?

Answer: Spain

The story is that really bad children will be put in a burlap bag and taken to Spain. If you remember your history, the Moors began to invade Spain in 711 AD, and were quite difficult to move out, staying there for eight hundred years. Some people believe that this reference, as far as Zwarte Pieten is concerned, has to do with the fact that the Moors constantly raided the Iberian coastal areas in order to capture slaves.

It could also be a reference to the 1087 transfer of the relics of St. Nicholas from Myra to Bari, Italy, which, at the time, was part of the domain of the Spanish Hapsburgs.

Another fact that seems to show that Zwarte Pieten was from Spain is the fact that one of the treats he passes out is a Mandarin orange - from Spain!
8. Just ten years ago, in 1850, a book called "Sint Nikolaas en zijn Knecht" was published and included information about Zwarte Pieten. Who was the author of this book?

Answer: Jan Schenkman

Jan Schenkman is a primary school teacher from Amsterdam. He has written many songs about Sinterklaas for children. His "Sint Nikolaas en zijn Knecht", that translates as "Saint Nicholas and his Servant", tells about Zwarte Pieten, although he is never mentioned by name. He is described as a page or servant of St. Nicholas, with dark skin, curly hair, old-fashioned clothing, and gold earrings. The legend of Zwarte Pieten has been in existence for a long while, but the book is the first time the two are described as arriving in a steamboat! Some people are saying that they think the author might have been influenced by the use of black slaves by the Dutch royal family.

(Author's Note: The Netherlands did not outlaw the slave trade until 1863. That was also the same year that Jan Schenkman passed away.)
9. Zwarte Pieten leaves stones in the shoes of bad children.

Answer: False

Like I said, on December 5, the eve of St. Nicholas Day, children will place their shoes either outside the door or by the hearth, hoping for some special treats. Some of the songs that I have heard people sing give a warning about what will happen to children even if they are a little bit naughty. Zwarte Pieten may leave a lump of coal, some switches, or simply nothing at all.
10. People in my day and time (1860) view the tradition of Zwarte Pieten as wildly racist. There have been talks of discontinuing the practice.

Answer: False

Author's Note: I know what you are thinking! The tradition of Zwarte Pieten is wildly racist. Most certainly in our day it is seen in that way. John, however, living in Victorian England, would not have seen anything wrong with it. As a matter of fact, surveys show that most people in the Benelux countries do not believe it is.

In 2013, 92% of the Dutch people said they do not associate Zwarte Pieten with racism or slavery. While this may be the case, nevertheless, the United Nations asked the Netherlands to end of practice of black face. Zwarte Pieten was not outlawed, but it was agreed that only sooty faces - not black ones - would be allowed in public celebrations.

This is still an issue which finds many people in the Netherlands divided.
Source: Author ponycargirl

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor agony before going online.
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