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Pinkster School Day Program

Originally a Dutch spring festival, Pinkster became one of the most important holidays for Africans in New York—a time for reuniting with family and celebrating a variety of traditions.
Pinkster was brought to the New World by Dutch settlers in the 1620s, and flourished in the areas of heaviest Dutch settlement: the Hudson Valley, northern New Jersey, and western Long Island. These same areas also had significant populations of enslaved Africans from the 1600s until emancipation in New York in 1827.

Enslaved people received few holidays or breaks from grueling work. Pinkster, in contrast, was an annual event the community look forward to: a chance to reunite and celebration that featured storytelling, music, dance, drumming, and food made from treasured recipes.

Despite Pinkster’s Dutch origins, Africans in New York and New Jersey were so successful at incorporating their own cultures into the celebration that by the early 1800s Pinkster was considered an African American holiday.

Historic Hudson Valley’s annual Pinkster celebration at Philipsburg Manor in Sleepy Hollow, NY, includes programs on weekdays for school groups as well as a weekend public event.