Pete the Moor and European Black Face Traditions

“In the United States of America, Pete has largely been removed from the narratives in Europe where he is basically Santa Clause (Sinterklaas) assistant and enforcer. While many suggest that Blackface is racist and seek for non-Black Europeans or so-called Whites to end the practice, many of the Moors in America point to these practices as a reference as to their true race and nationality as “Moors”. In America, such information is largely esoteric, its as if the Europeans or White Americans do not want Black or African Americans to acknowledge or be aware of their well documented Moorish History.”

“Whites whether from America and Africa commonly come to the Murakush Society facebook page making comments suggesting that the Moors were not Black in color or complexion. This does not seem to be something that actual Europeans have a problem admitting.  I find it comical because it shows that European American’s and European North Africans are just as ignorant as many Black or African Americans about Moorish history. Both groups have become dumber based on the white-controlled educational leadership in the country when it comes to the origins of Black or African Americans.”

“Good news is the actually educated counterparts of White Americans know very well why Black Pete as they call him in Europe is said to have been from Spain and why Europeans dress in Spanish Moor outfits and paint their faces Black.  I’ve seen movies where the narrative turns Pete the Moor into a non-human monster with some sort of evil agenda. In the Dutch narrative, Pete punishes the naughty and takes them back to Spain. “In Central European folklore, Father Christmas is often said to have captured a demon and put him to work as an aide. The character of Krampus, a horned devil who punishes the naughty, is a loose Germanic equivalent of Black Pete, although far more malevolent than his Low Country counterpart.”

See Black Pete: Who is the ‘racist’ Christmas character sparking clashes in the Netherlands?

“The other aspect of this story often overlooks the fact that the original Santa Claus is historically known as Saint Nicholas. Saint Nicholas was from what is now modern-day Turkey, while Americans teach their children that Santa Clause lives in the North Pole. It is said he was a Bishop involved with the historical council of Nicaea, where it was determined that the birth of Jesus Christ would be celebrated on December 25th. The final point as to Saint Nicholas is that it appears he was also a Moor.” 


“Black Pete’s origins are more problematic. There are suggestions that he started life as a Moorish servant from Spain, a Turkish orphan rescued by St Nick, or an Ethiopian slave freed by him. Some, squirming with embarrassment, explain that Black Pete gets black from soot coming down the chimney. If so, it doesn’t explain why he looks like a Victorian colonialist’s a supposedly humorous caricature of a black person. But perhaps Black Pete’s origins lie further back and raise even more concerns about today’s portrayal.”


See A Christmas controversy by Mark Mardell 

“The Fight Against Black Pete is a never-ending Battle. Opposition to end the Black Pete theme argue that his character is not human, thus he is not supposed to represent a Black man, clearly, that is bullshit, based on the fact that he was referred to as a Moor and dressed in Spanish Moor attire, the thought is reminiscent of the fact that Moors were dehumanized during slavery which went hand in hand with the Christian discovery of America that followed the fall of Granada. One thing I notice is those who oppose Black Pete do not oppose White Saint Nicholas.” 

“Thus we have an issue where both personalities were Moorish or at least Moor and Turk or Turk and Moor, yet the Protestors against Black Pete do not also Protest the White Washing of Saint Nicholas, as far as I have observed, that is. Protestors including Zwarte Piet Is Racisme project co-founder, Jerry Afriyie briefly brought the November Sinterklaas arrival parade to a halt by blocking the path of men dressed as Black Pete. (Hans Mooren).”

“However, those against the tradition quickly point out that the character comes from the 19th-century children’s book “Saint Nicholas and His Servant,” in which the servant, Black Pete is described as a Black Moor from Spain. While Black Pete may be part of Dutch folklore, his portrayal is part of historically negative stereotypes of Black people dating back to colonialism.” See The Fight Against ‘Black Pete’, a Holiday Blackface Tradition “

“Illustrations from Schenkman’s story depict Pete wearing the traditional dress of Spanish Moors, the Muslim people expelled from the devoutly Catholic country to North Africa in the early 17th century. Schenkman is also thought to have taken inspiration from the 13th-century medieval manuscript Legenda Aurea, compiling accounts of the lives of the saints, which suggests Saint Nicholas once freed a slave from the court of the Emperor of Babylon, who stayed with him thereafter as a devoted familiar.” See Black Pete: Who is the ‘racist’ Christmas character sparking clashes in the Netherlands?

“In sum, it seems to me that Black Pete represents the Moorish characteristics of Saint Nicholas. It appears that both Santa Claus and Black Pete are fictional characters made from the historical Saint Nicholas the Moor and or the Turk. This practice seems to be a common European revisionist practice in terms of taking Moorish historical personalities breaking their characteristics up into two or more characters. Robin Hood would be another example of their revisionist strategy.”

“Black demons are said by the 6th century Pope Gregory to have carried off wicked souls to hell (Arjana, Sophia Rose, 2014, p. 49), just as “black Peter” of the Germanic countries was traditionally believed to have been originally a Moor of Spain who used to kidnap European children. Peter, who had apparently converted to Christianity and became Saint Nicholas’ helper in his early folkloric depictions “frequently held a sack which was supposed to be used to carry bad children off to Spain, once a stronghold of the ‘Moors’” (Sexton, 1999). The custom of blackening the face at festivals to represent Peter is found not only in Europe, but in Dutch and German communities in America as well.”  See FEAR OF BLACKNESS SERIES: Guide to the Ethnic Origins of the “Infernal” and “Black Saracen”

“The Moorish “henchmen” and their ruler are said to live in tents and in a white manors or towers by the sea.  In another tale, Marco, in order to achieve one of his heroic deeds at one point when he is in the accursed dungeon of “Azak”, takes black dye “and dyed black his white face, he made of himself a black Arab, and let out his good brown steed”.  (p. 111).” See FEAR OF BLACKNESS SERIES: Guide to the Ethnic Origins of the “Infernal” and “Black Saracen”

 “In Bulgaria, as among the Roma, black face is often used for the Arapi, i.e. Arabs, in mumming or mummers parades. In certain villages “entire faces are blackened, and not just with soot but with a dark-black greasepaint or polish” (Creed, Gerald, 2011, p. 190).”  See FEAR OF BLACKNESS SERIES: Guide to the Ethnic Origins of the “Infernal” and “Black Saracen”

The U.S. has more governors who have worn blackface than actual black governors. No African Americans currently govern any of the 50 U.S. states, which makes a tweet by an activist both arresting and accurate: More governors exist who have worn blackface than there are black governors in the U.S., tweeted civil rights activist Samuel Sinyangwe in late August 2019. In 2019 alone, two governors, Ralph Northam of Virginia and Kay Ivey of Alabama, respectively a Democrat and Republican, both apologized for wearing blackface decades ago during their college years.

See Does America Have More Governors Who Have Worn Blackface Than Black Governors?

Mayor Kenney said on Twitter, “The use of blackface by someone affiliated with Froggy Carr today was abhorrent and unacceptable:

“The use of blackface by someone affiliated with Froggy Carr today was abhorrent and unacceptable. This selfish, hateful behavior has no place in the Mummers, or the city itself. We must be better than this. The group was disqualified and we will be exploring additional penalties.”

Source: Blackface controversy casts a pall over 2020 Mummers parade in Philadelphia