Pinkster at Crailo State Historic Site 2018

Crailo State Historic Site Rensselaer exterior

The Crailo State Historic Site in Rensselaer is again hosting a Pinkster event, this year on May 26. A bit of historical background:

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 celebration will include presentations about the experiences of enslaved Africans and African-Americans in colonial New York, traditional dancing and theatrical demos, storytelling, music, a culinary historian preparing food and interpreting historic African and African-American foodways, along with crafts, games, and refreshments.

The event is Saturday, May 26 from 11 am to 4 pm. It's 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. It's on a beautiful block in the city of Rensselaer along the riverfront.

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