Pinkster at Crailo State Historic Site

crailo state historic site tile logoThe Crailo State Historic Site in Rensselaer has a Pinkster celebration this Saturday. Pinkster?

Once a Dutch holiday commemorating Pentecost, Pinkster became a distinctly African American holiday in the Hudson River Valley during the colonial era. During the 17th and 18th centuries, enslaved and free African Americans transformed Pinkster from a Dutch religious observance into a spring festival and a celebration of African cultural traditions. All along the Hudson River and on Albany's "Pinkster Hill" (the current site of the NYS Capitol), enslaved African Americans reunited with family and friends and celebrated Pinkster with storytelling, food, music, and dance. Other Pinkster traditions, like the selection of the Pinkster King, created opportunities for enslaved African Americans to honor respected members of the community and to subtly mock their white enslavers.

The Crailo event will have presentations about the experienced enslaved African Americans in New York, an instrument-making workshop, storytelling, and culinary historian and hearth cooking specialist Lavada Nahon interpreting historic African and African-American foodways.

The event is Saturday, April 22 from 11 am to 4 pm. Admission is free.

The Crailo site was once a home for the Van Rensselaer family and now serves as a museum of colonial Dutch history in the Hudson Valley. It was named after the Van Rensselaer's estate in the Netherlands -- Crayloo or Cralo -- which meant "crows' wood" in Dutch.


I remember when the Tulip Festival was called Pinkster Fest. I knew that it was connected to Dutch tradition, but this article adds a new and interesting dimension to it.

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