In the Netherlands Santa Claus is so important that he even has his own news. On TV I saw his entry into Dokkum. He arrived with a boat, got on a horse and walked through the city. Children were singing loudly songs and had pieten hats and mites on. They became overjoyed when Piet gave them a handful of ginger-nuts. In Syria we do not have a party that looks like Santa Claus. Christian Syrians do have Santa. A symbol of peace and for children that makes everyone happy. Also the Muslims. At the end of the year the Syrian Christians decorated their streets and we helped Muslims thereby. We wanted to be part of their party and also bought gifts for each other. Conversely, the Christians participated in the sacrificial feast and the Sugar Festival. They were happy with our cookies during Ramadan and we were happy with their chocolate during Christmas. Christians and Muslims lived together very well in Syria. The integration was good, until the war came. Now everyone is on the run. Now that I am in the Netherlands, I celebrate the Santa Claus celebration. Recently I put my shoe at my friend’s parents with a carrot in it. In the morning there were presents in our shoes and the carrot was gone. Eaten by the horse. I wonder who the horse was at home, but I did not ask for it. I got a chocolate letter from “Santa Claus mother-in-law”‘. I wondered if Santa Claus knew my name, or whether I would get the R from ‘refugee’. But no, Santa Claus knows everything. I got an A. Santa Claus is a beautiful tradition. I think it’s nice how happy children become of Santa Claus and Peter. I would be honored to make children happy during the entry. I like to offer myself as Anwar-Peter. And when I have children, I will also teach them about Sinterklaas and Peter and then my children can proudly say: My dad is Anwar-Peter!

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