Do you know the history of Saint Nicholas? This legendary tale was told in the historical Jacob Blauvelt House in New City; built in 1832 and was owned by family descendants until 1970 at which time was acquired by Rockland County Historical Society. The house now serves as a museum and cultural center.
The St. Nicholas legend has been a Rockland County tradition since 1961 when the first festival was created to to familiarize children of the legend of St. Nicholas. Dutch settlers arrived in the new world in 1600’s bringing with them traditions and customs. There are many legends of St. Nicholas that have evolved over the years with only one steadfast character remained; the image of saintly miracle worker.
The house is decorated specifically to the legends told of St. Nicholas. Each decorative piece correlates to a legend told.
Upon entering this quant farmhouse, children are asked to take off one shoe and leave on the floor next to the fireplace. We gathered in the great room, seated around to hear the stories.
Listening to the re-creation of this legend St. Nicholas and learning how these traditions were honored by families so many years ago was very interesting. With a poem we learned and recited of Sinterklaas, the children found their shoes filled with goodies. A We were treated to fresh baked ginger cream cookies along with hot cider.
Upon completion of our visit, we were able to see a version of St. Nicholas and his beautiful horse who enjoyed carrots, attention from the guest and obliged to photo requests. What a valuable lesson learned to the history of what we know today and a glimpse into life for the early settlers so many years ago.
Rockland County Historical Society hosts numerous exhibitions along with historical collections that are educational for everyone to enjoy. Visit them at www.rocklandhistory.org