Celebrating 50 years old with puppets

Turning 50 - she saw Sarah

The first time ever I saw those ugly inflatable Sarah’s I was so confused…

Let me tell you something. I like very much the taste Dutch people have in regard to decorating their houses, windows and gardens. So you can imagine my shock, the first time ever I saw those huge-inflatable-ugly-weird-grey-old-looking puppets in front of their doors. I was so confused….

“OK, I get it”, I said to myself when I read the banner: Sarah, 50. So, this most probably means that in this house live two (ugly-weird-grey-old-looking) twin sisters, both called Sarah (Dutch people must have such strange sense of humor to give to their daughters the same name!) and who are turning 50. A bit weird but after all, not such a big deal.

Only that, by accident, few houses further I see another high doll and, again: Sarah, 50. “Seriously? Are you kidding me?! Three women on the same street, all three called Sarah and all three turning 50 in the same day? What kind of coincidence is that and what is really going on over here?”

Well, don’t let yourself fooled like I did, the puppets are called Sarah, not the persons, and the full story comes like this. When a woman (man) becomes 50 years old, it is stated (in the Bible) that from that moment on she starts to see Sarah (respectively he is seeing Abraham). And this as a sign of maturity and wisdom. “Sorry? Say again, seeing who?”

Hence, in Holland, to make the prediction real, the night before someone is turning 50, a huge inflatable Sarah or Abraham is placed in front of his or her door by family, friends or colleagues, for the amusement of everyone (except the celebrated one!). Not only that the puppet is ugly and so tall that everyone from 3 streets away can notice it, but the situation gets worse when the texts from the associated banners are reminding the “victim” how old is he or she becoming.

People can be so creative in making fun of others, so here are some examples of the poems, lyrics and sayings for a 50 years old Dutch anniversary:

For women:

“We didn’t forget, although Sarah doesn’t want us to know.”
“It’s strange but true, Sarah is fifty years old.”
“Panic, panic, Sarah is half antiques.”
“50 years ago this Sarah had her first diaper full of shitting.”
“18 years old with 32 years of experience.”
“Yesterday a young rose, today an old box”.

turning 50-abraham

“No it’s not nonsense; Abraham is officially an old dick.”

And for men:

“Yes it’s true; our Abraham is 50 years old.”
“This nice guy is not 49 anymore.”
“Now you are older than you’ve ever been before.” (No, really?)
“Abraham, our handyman, is now a person over 50.”
“No it’s not nonsense; Abraham is officially an old dick.”

But wait, see what else can happen!

Did you wake up in that morning and didn’t see any doll in front of your house? Don’t be relieved and happy yet, the day is not finished! Can be that the puppet is waiting for you in the office!

Is your 50th birthday anniversary in the weekend? You might have the surprise that an Abraham “alive” is serving you the breakfast at bed!

Are people coming to party at your house? Someone dressed as Abraham or Sarah can welcome the guests and serve them drinks!

Want to revenge a bit for the satiric poems you’ve got? Hire a living Abraham to do just this: scary your guests!

See for yourself:

Half Abraham and Half Sarah

The Half Abraham and Half Sarah

Think you are still very young and this odd habit is too far away from affecting you? Be aware!

There is a new growing tradition here. Nowadays if you celebrate your 25th anniversary in Holland, be prepared to find in your garden the same kind of Sarah or Abraham dolls, but this time cut in half (The so called Half Sarah, respectively Half Abraham) plus nasty texts, mainly about (the lack of) your sexual life, à la Dutch humor style.

The matter of aging can be depressing for people and this kind of celebrations can enhance the feeling but if you can overcome it, you can have a great 25th or 50th birthday anniversary  in the Netherlands.

Man, Dutch people know how to have a lot of fun!

Now it’s your turn: Did you witness a 50th or 25th years old celebration in the Netherlands? Which kind of Sarah or Abraham did you see? And what impression did they made on you? If not, how do you find this Dutch tradition and if you would like to see it once or to experience it yourself on your 25th or 50th anniversary? Leave your thoughts and comments below! 😉

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  • J.B.Barend

    Reply Reply 17/10/2014

    I think its a nice Dutch tradition!

  • sweetDutch

    Reply Reply 17/10/2014

    @ Barend: also the one with the mustard is nce. they say when you turn 50 that by now you know from where to get the mustard! there are even companies specialized in delivering mustard for this kind of occasions!

  • Sofie

    Reply Reply 17/10/2014

    you can also put Abraham spells on t-shirts and party guides, for even more fun!

  • kerry jacklin

    Reply Reply 05/05/2015

    I think the tradition is great and my very good friends in hengelo erected one of these puppets for my husband when we visited for his 50th birthday even though hes british. I would very much like to organise something for our friends, gentleman turns 50 in january and the lady in sept, do you know anywhere near hengelo that i could contact to arrange this please ? i don’t appear to be having much luck on google!
    kerry jacklin

  • Things Dutch People Do

    Reply Reply 05/05/2015

    @kerry: Dear Kerry, I’ve posted your question on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/thingsDutchpeopledo and hope someone will help you with the answer! 🙂

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