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Sinterklaas (Dutch: [ˌsɪntərˈklaːs]) or Sint-Nicolaas (Dutch: [sɪnt ˈnikoːlaːs] ⓘ) is a legendary figure based on Saint Nicholas, patron saint of children. Other Dutch names for the figure include De Sint ("The Saint"), De Goede Sint ("The Good Saint") and De Goedheiligman ("The Good Holy Man"). Many descendants and cognates of "Sinterklaas" or "Saint Nicholas" in other languages are also used in the Low Countries, nearby regions, and former Dutch colonies.
The feast of Sinterklaas celebrates the name day of Saint Nicholas on 6 December. The feast is celebrated annually with the giving of gifts on St. Nicholas' Eve (5 December) in the Netherlands and on the morning of 6 December, Saint Nicholas Day, Belgium, Luxembourg, western Germany, northern France (French Flanders, Lorraine, Alsace and Artois), Romania, Poland and Hungary. The tradition is also celebrated in some territories of the former Dutch Empire, including Aruba.
Sinterklaas is one of the sources of the popular Christmas icon of Santa Claus.
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