On Sunday, Dec. 1, from 1 to 4 p.m., the program will offer Museum-goers itineraries to visit cultures through the stories of international speakers, as well as the opportunity to explore holiday traditions from around the world. The celebration is free and open to the public.
“It’s a joyful time around the holidays, so we like to present it as a gift to the community,” says Tena Thomason, assistant director of special events at the Museum.
Upon entering the Museum, guests will receive a passport to take a trip on celebration’s world tour. The Museum’s International Classroom and Penn cultural student associations will share aspects of their respective country’s holiday festivals, history, cuisine, and traditions. Visitors will have their passports stamped by each group they engage with—and can earn a small memento with at least four stamps.
Group presentations will include an introduction to Masai life by Kenyan Paul Kunoni; a discussion on the intricate ties between African, African-American, and Brazilian culture by São Paul-native Gabriela Watson Aurazo; and an examination of Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights, by Rita Sheth and Sudha Ganesh of the Bharatiya Vidyalaya Cultural Center.
Additional presentations will include an introduction to Arabic languages and the celebration of Eid from Pakistani Muqaddas Ejaz; a look inside Cameroonian culture from Cameroon-native Alima Tchafa Minku; and a Q&A session on the basics of Islam with members of Lajna Ima’illah, the women’s auxiliary of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.
Throughout the celebration, guests can also participate in meditative yoga sessions to explore inner peace, an instructional Middle Eastern drum circle, an Indian rhythmic dance performance and bhangra and garba folk-dance workshop, and a storytelling session recounting tales of peace, cooperation, and how laughter and sharing bring people together.
“We hope it will promote the spirit of cultural understanding, bringing awareness of different traditions, and to hope for world peace,” Thomason says.
The event will also feature holiday- and cultural-themed face painting, balloon creations, a make-and-take craft table, and free cupcakes from Restaurant Associates, while supplies last. The Pepper Mill Café will offer a 10 percent discount on a variety of hot entrees and holiday desserts.
Guests are invited to bring a new, unwrapped toy donation to join in the Museum’s efforts to support the Penn Volunteers in Public Service’s holiday drive for West Philadelphia charities.
For more information about the “Peace around the World” festivities, visit the Penn Museum website.
Originally published on November 21, 2013