This set has to do with a Dutch and Belgian tradition of Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet (or St. Nicolas and Black Pete).
Word is, that Santa Claus originated from St. Nicolas! As we all know, Santa Claus conquered the world with his Christmas presents, whereas St. Nicolas remained modest, generously giving his presents early December in a few countries only.
The old white bearded fellow is always accompanied by his white horse and some colourful aids. For years and years, this has been the actual situation. The helpers would give candy to the kids, have a lot of fun and organize all the logistics of getting the right present to the right kid. In the old days, they would put bad behaving kids in the sack and take them to homeland Spain. Or they might give some fysical punishment (…) with a wooden rod (as represented in the set).
This set (together with a steamboat and a set of three helpers) was only discontinued in 2015. It is a collector’s item and subject to a rapidly changing tradition in the low countries.
The figures are very nicely made and a good representation of the figures that can be seen in the streets before and on 5 December.