Sinterklaas

Sinterklaas is a mythical figure with legendary, historical and folkloric origins based on Saint Nicholas. He is one of the sources of Santa Claus. Sinterklaas is celebrated annually (especially in the Netherlands) with the giving of gifts on 5 December.

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Further reading: Ten things you need to know to celebrate Sinterklaas

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Snowflakes

Wilson Alwyn Bentley is one of the first known photographers of snowflakes – he took over 5000 photographs of what he called “tiny miracles of beauty”.  He perfected a process of catching flakes on black velvet in such a way that their images could be captured before they either melted or sublimated.

Snowflakes have all different kinds of patterns, but always have six sides.

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Further reading: Top 10 fascinating facts about snow

Matisse cut-outs

After Henri Matisse had an operation in 1941, his health deteriorated to the point where painting was too strenuous, and paper cut-outs became his principle mode of expression.  His famous Blue Nudes from 1952 were among his final works:

  • Blue Nude IV was the first of the series but the last to be completed
  • Blue Nudes I, II and III were cut ‘in a single movement’ from one blue-painted sheet
  • Blue Nude II is probably the best known

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Further reading: Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs

Dirndl

230px-Dirndldirndl is a traditional Bavarian dress made up of a skirt, bodice, blouse and apron. The placement of the knot on the apron is said to indicate a woman’s marital status:

  • knot on the right – married, engaged, taken
  • knot of the left – single, available
  • knot on the back – widowed (or a waitress)
  • knot in the middle at the front – virgin

Perhaps this is where the saying “to tie the knot” comes from.

Further reading: Oktoberfest Dirndl dress: the bow