Holidays celebrated throughout the world will vibrantly burst under one roof when the Seasons of Sharing exhibit is unveiled Nov. 10, 2012through January 6, 2013 at the Children's Museum of Houston. There couldn’t be a more appropriate celebration in town! With more than 100 languages spoken throughout the Houston area, the Bayou City is a thriving home to a variety of cultures from around the globe.
Ramadan, Diwali, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Las Posadas, Gullah Christmas, Kwanzaa, and the Lunar NewYear will be represented in Houston’s only multicultural holiday exhibit for children. These eight celebrations will come together in Seasons of Sharing, where a block-long neighborhood of houses light the way through the holiday season. See dipa lamps, menorahs, luminarias, kinaras, Christmas lights, and the crescent moon dazzle the most diverse neighborhood in town! Each house will represent one of the holidays observed annually in households around the world. Step inside each home, get cozy and experience firsthand customs and traditions different from your own.
“Through this exhibit, we can share the gifts that each culture contributes to our community,” said Bunmi Gaidi, arts educator at the Children’s Museum of Houston. “It provides a place for families to explore the meaning of their own cultural traditions and of those practiced by other people.”
In addition, a different cultural holiday will be spotlighted each week. Learn about the culture through hands-on activities, workshops and performances.
“In doing so, we hope to make children more aware of the rich diversity that exists within our multicultural community,” said Gaidi. “But regardless of how different those practices are, they’ll come to understand we share similar principles of family unity and of giving without receiving.”
In addition, Audrey Jones Beck’s cherished collection of 78 Santon Dolls will be on display as a special gift to Houston’s children by the late Texan art philanthropist. Her dream of sharing an important part of her own holiday celebration has become an annual addition to Seasons of Sharing. The clay figurines illustrate the colorful people, trades, activities and costumes of Marseilles, France signifying some of Southern France’s holiday traditions.
SEASONS OF SHARING SPOTLIGHT PERFORMANCES AND WORKSHOPS
November 15 – 18
Ramadan is an ancient observance that occurs on the 9th month of the Islamic calendar. The exact day depends on when the first crescent of the new moon is sighted. Traditional Ramadan includes fasting from dawn to dusk, prayer, and thinking of those who are less fortunate or do not have enough to eat. It’s a time to strengthen family and community ties and an opportunity to deepen one’s faith. Join us and make your own Ramadan hat, “prayer rug” and Ramadan lantern, or paint your own Islamic-inspired mosaic tile in honor of Ramadan (Nov. 15 & 17).
November 29 – December 5
“Diwali,” the Indian Festival of Lights, illuminates the darkness of the New Year’s moon and strengthens our close friendships and knowledge. Diwali involves the lighting of small clay lamps filled with oil to signify the triumph of good over evil. During Diwali, people wear new clothes and share sweets and snacks with family members and friends. Join the Swaralayam Arts with Indian drumming and singing (Dec. 2) and explore cultural traditions through garland making, Diwali Toran decorating, and Mehndi hand art. Come to the Diwali workshop and make your own Rangoli design (Dec. 1 & 2).
December 6 – 12
Hanukkah O Hanukkah, come light the menorah! Hanukkah celebrates the miracle Jewish people experienced after reclaiming the Temple of Jerusalem when a tiny amount of lamp oil lit up the Temple for eight days. This Festival of Lights is celebrated by lighting the Menorah for eight nights using the center candle (the shamash). It is a time of giving, prayer and togetherness. Teller of tales, Dan Gordon, will delight you with Hanukkah stories (Dec. 6. & 8), plus make macaroni Menorahs, Hanukkah garlands, or play the dreidel or the flip fried latke game.
December 13 – 19
Las Posadas commemorates Mary and Joseph's journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem in search of "posada" or refuge. During the nine-day holiday, Mexican villagers set out luminaries and form a procession through the streets in their honor ending with a nightly celebration! Explore the concept of patterns and paper-cutting making buñuelos de viento (Las Posadas cookies), unique glittery poinsettia flowers and nativity scene collages. Mariachi Hermosura Juvenil will strum their guitars (Dec. 13).
December 20 – 24
The Children's Museum of Houston is putting a holiday twist to the traditional Christmas celebration with a Gullah Christmas. Gullah is a West African culture, based in the Sea Islands off the South Carolina coast, which survived the hardships of slavery and remained almost unscathed since the 1600s. The Gullah are known for preserving more of their African linguistic and cultural heritage than any other African American community in the United States. Experience a slice of American history through the rhythms of Gullah customs and traditions. Make a Gullah quilt square, South Carolina palm tree wreaths and play traditional Gullah math games. Don’t forget to explore the Cum Yah Gullah exhibit.
December 26 – 30
Kwanzaa, which means "first fruits of the harvest," is a time of reaffirming African Americans of their ancestors and culture. It’s celebrated with seven nights of candle lighting representing Seven Guiding Principles: Unity, Self-Determination, Collective Work and Responsibility, Cooperative Economics, Purpose, Creativity and Faith, to honor the values of ancient African cultures and inspire African Americans who are working for progress. Dance to the beat of heart-pounding African drums in a dance workshop (Dec. 26 – 30) and watch an exciting African performance by KouMemkele African Dance and Drum Ensemble (Dec. 29). Learn about the symbols of Kwanzaa, explore the art of weaving and more!