Zwarte Piet, or Black Pete, is traditionally believed to be St. Nicholas’ helper. He may or may not have been a slave freed by St. Nicholas, or he could potentially have been someone touched by the works of St. Nicholas and wanted to help further his cause.
For those who believe that St. Nicholas and Odin share a similar character set, Zwarte Piet would be comparable to the two ravens that Odin would have sit at the chimney and then tell him if the house held good or bad children. Additionally, Zwarte Pete might not have been a friend to St. Nicholas, but rather a devil chained up by him. It is unclear if this devil would have been remedied and then became a helper of St. Nicholas or not.
Naturally, there is a controversy surrounding this character in many areas. For the areas that celebrate it, it is common for believers to put on black face during the celebration. This has led to many feeling that this tradition is racist in nature, and groups have emerged trying to remove Pete from their celebrations.
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