Traditional Dutch New Year’s Eve


When Alison Strander grew up, her backyard was where the Roy Frontrunner station is now. Before the station was built, she would play in that open field. Her parents, Haizen Post and Ray Page, built that house. Her family is one of the many Dutch families living in Roy, and they still celebrate their homeland traditions.

Hazien Page, gets assistance from her daughter with her apron as she goes back to cooking the oliebollen, Dutch doughnuts.

Alison’s grandma, Jane Post, lived in Holland until she was 18, when she moved to the United States with her family. Prior to that, Jane lived and worked in the canals of her hometown. Back in her day, there was a lot to do on the canals. People could fish or transport persons and goods via the canal. She came from a family of eight children. Jane’s husband Valster, whom she would meet in the states, left Holland at the age of three. Even now, in Roy, Utah, they ring in the new year the Dutch way.

“Our New Year’s Day is more of a family reunion,” Alison said.

Oliebollen, Dutch doughnuts

At first, Alison remembers her aunts and uncles coming over to her house to celebrate. Now, every year, at the church on 4500 South, somewhere in the ballpark of 150 descendants of Valster and Jane come together to eat dinner, but they really make the trip for the home-baked oliebollen. It’s a pastry similar to a scone with chunks of fruit. The Post family prepares it with raisins or plain as is, but always topped with powdered sugar. It’s a finicky recipe. When Jane passed away, she left the world without having written down the recipe. Then, it was up to Valster, Haizen, and Ray to figure it out on their own. At one point, they got the recipe right, but as the dough was rising, Haizen slammed the kitchen door a little too hard, the dough was ruined, and they had to start all over. But now, Haizen has remembered the recipe, and the tradition continued. She and her five sisters prepared the pastries for everyone. Lately, the family has begun to grow almost too big to feed.

“We are on at least four, maybe five, generations,” Alison said. “This sounds bad, but I did tell my mom: ‘Once you pass, I will keep going and doing this, but I won’t do it with my extended family. It’s too much.’”

All of her life, Haizen has intentionally set aside time to be with her family, not just her own children, but her extended family who emigrated from Holland too. Every month, all her siblings get together to play cards.

Traders, fisherman, and other people working at one of the many canals in Amsterdam

“If it wasn’t for my mom making sure that everyone got together, our family wouldn’t have stayed together,” Alison said. “She just loves her family; she likes her family to be together.”

This will be the first New Year in over 50 years that the whole family won’t be able to get together. This year, the tradition will return to its roots and be celebrated at home. The family is still very close, with most family members living in the northern Utah area.

“We try to make sure we’re together as much as we can be,” Alison said.

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