49. Zwarte Piet is a Strange Tradition
Zwarte Piet, or Black Pete in English, is a traditional figure in the folklore of the Netherlands, known as the companion of Saint Nicholas. In this role, Zwarte Piet is portrayed as the distributor of candy to well-behaved children. Historically, the character also played a part in punishing those who were less well-behaved, though this aspect has largely faded since the 1960s.
The folklore explains Zwarte Piet’s distinct appearance as being covered in a permanent layer of soot, a result of his numerous journeys down chimneys during his festive visits to homes. This character, steeped in tradition, continues to be a part of the holiday celebrations in these regions.