What we were discussing while trying to count Marias and peanuts was the differences in holiday traditions around the world. In Belgium and the Netherlands, though both celebrate Sinterklaas in similar manners, there is still a difference in traditional candies, and styles of celebrating. It was also fun to tell them about a traditional Christmas stocking (at least traditional in my family).
So, here's what we placed in the Sinterklaas 'snoepzakjes' that we filled today:
15 peanuts in the shell
1 package Speculaas (a ginger type cookie decorated in Sinterklaas form)
1 large chocolate coin
1 Mars bar (Mars in America and here are different candy bars)
1 sack of potato chips
1 mini Mentos
1 decorated ice chocolate square
1 chocolate/marshmallow cigar
12 Maria soft sugar candies (schuimpjes/guama)
2 spekjes (colored marshmallow candy, and very popular with children year round)
1 sack Nic-Nacs (a hard, bland cookie with some super sugary hard frosting piped on top)
1 6" hollow chocolate Sinterklaas
Here are the pictures of the traditional Belgian Sinterklaas treats.
In Nederland there are kikkers and muizen (frogs and mice) made from chocolate and marzipan (Erwin's favorite treat), chocolate letters (you get the letter that your name begins with from Sint as a typical Sinterklaasavond surprise in your shoe), pepernoten (hard ginger cookies), taai-taai (a soft anise flavored cookie), and suikergoed, which is a sugary half-hard, half-soft candy that is usually mixed in with papernoten and schuimpjes (soft foamy candy) to create the typical Strooigoed.
Got all of that? Because even if you don't, trust me, it's a yummy time of year here in Europe!