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Pay Tribute To The Oldest African American Holiday At Philipsburg Manor

Drumming, dancing, and dramatic vignettes are highlights for visitors who attend Celebrate Pinkster at Philipsburg Manor in Sleepy Hollow, NY, on Saturday, May 19, from 10am-5pm.

At this lively celebration of the oldest African American holiday, visitors can learn some new dance steps, watch a parade, listen to theatrical retellings of traditional African folktales, and get swept up in the rhythms of the drums in all-day performances.

Inspired by the grand cross-cultural springtime celebrations jointly created by Dutch settlers and enslaved Africans during colonial times, Philipsburg Manor's Celebrate Pinkster is a rousing re-creation. The historic holiday of Pinkster was a joyous, festive occasion that celebrated the arrival of spring. For the African community riven by enslavement, it was a profound opportunity for family members and friends, many of whom were split off and spread out from each other, to come together.

As in historic Pinkster celebrations, two "Grand Events" will mark the day. The first is the Pinkster Parade and the Game of Lies. After this elaborate ceremony of matching wits, the community crowns the Pinkster King. Later in the afternoon, the Election takes place, which names the Pinkster Regent, who will be the King for the following year.

Music will fill the day, including African drumming and musical demonstrations directed by Master Drummer Neil Clarke, and performances by Ghanaian native Maxwell Kofi Donkor (drums), Muhamadou Salieu Suso (kora), and Henrique Prince (fiddle).

Other highlights include storytelling by April Armstrong and African colonial dance by Judith Samuel and the Children of Dahomey. Ongoing activities include a "Runaway Art" exhibit in the manor house, Adinkra stamp-making crafts, family activities, open-hearth cooking, and tours of the working gristmill.

Culinary connoisseurs can enjoy historic food demonstrations by Pam Nyambi and purchase delicious food from Geordane's of Irvington.

Online admission is $14 for adults; $12 for seniors; $8 for children 3-17; and free for children under 3 and Historic Hudson Valley members. Prices are $2 more per ticket when purchased on site or by phone.

More about Philipsburg Manor
In 1750, Philipsburg Manor, which includes a working water-powered gristmill and new world Dutch barn, was home to 23 enslaved individuals known to have lived and labored there. It is the country's only living history museum that focuses on the history of northern slavery.

Philipsburg Manor is at 381 North Broadway (Route 9) in Sleepy Hollow, N.Y., two miles north of the Tappan Zee Bridge. Information: 914-366-6900,

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