18th Annual Peace around the World Penn Museum’s Free Family Holiday Celebration

Sunday, December 1, 2013 - 1:00pm - 4:00pm
Penn Museum, 3260 South Street | Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

Get into the holiday spirit with a “passport” for peace! Circle family and friends and head to the Penn Museum for the free 18th annual Peace around the World holiday celebration, Sunday, December 1, 1:00 - 4:00 pm. Guests receive Museum “passports” with itineraries to visit six cultures via six international speakers and explore holiday traditions from around the world. The afternoon also features storytelling, a calming yoga session, henna hand art, balloon art, face painting, and international family crafts which enable guests to offer their personal wishes for peace and unity, and free treats for children!

“This joyful and distinctively international celebration is Penn Museum’s holiday ‘gift’ to our community,” said Dr. Julian Siggers, Penn Museum Director. “We open our doors in the spirit of cultural understanding and in the hope we all have for a world at peace.”

The Museum’s all-volunteer Women’s Committee, Wilmington Trust, the International Classroom Program, and Restaurant Associates, Penn Museum’s exclusive caterer and operator of the Pepper Mill Café, are sponsors of the celebration. 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 during their holiday drive for West Philadelphia charities.


At 1:00 pm and 2:30 pm, certified yoga instructor Lisa Batt leads meditative yoga sessions to help guests explore their inner peace. Calming breath techniques associated with yoga have been credited with reducing anxieties and fears.

Joe Tayoun, internationally acclaimed Middle Eastern percussionist, leads an instructional drum circle at 1:30 pm. All visitors are encouraged to participate in the session and a limited number of drums are provided.

Nrutika Sankar, Leena Chakraborty, Sonal Makwana, and children from the Bharatiya Vidyalaya Cultural Center, offers a rhythmic dance performance to Indian music inspired by Bengali writer and 1913 Nobel Prize Laureate Rabindranath Tagore, starting at 2:00 pm. Guests are invited to learn bhangra and garba during the folk dance workshop.

At 3:00 pm, Michele Belluomini of Blue Deer Storytelling recounts tales of peace and cooperation, and how laughter and sharing bring people together.


Peace around the World begins as guests claim their “passports” upon entering the Museum, before “departing” on their world tour. Throughout the galleries, presenters from Penn Museum’s acclaimed International Classroom program and Penn cultural student associations share aspects of their country’s holiday festivals, history, cuisine, and traditions—and stamp guest passports. Passports stamped with four or more countries earn a small memento.

Paul Kunoni, a Masai originally from Kenya, acquaints guests with Masai life, wealth, and the Moran rite of passage for males 16–30 years old. The Moran is a communal series of initiations that require leaving parents and siblings to enter the bush and study Masai culture and traditions. Upon completion, the Morans return to their families as elders. Mr. Olekunoni completed his Moranship 10 years ago.

Gabriela Watson Aurazo, originally from São Paulo, Brazil, details how intricately African and African-American culture are woven into Brazilian culture. Half of Brazil’s population—97 million people—are of African descent. Ms. Watson Aurazo covers the Sunday churrasco (barbecue) family gathering, the gentrification of Carnivale, the inclusion of Yoruban Orishas in religious beliefs, and Brazilian hip-hop culture.

Rita Sheth and Sudha Ganesh, Bharatiya Vidyalaya Cultural Center, focus on Diwali—the Festival of Lights. During Diwali, lights are lit to celebrate the victory of good over evil and welcome Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity. Ms. Sheth, originally from Gujarat, India, introduces Garba—the folk dance of Gujarat (a Western Indian state) and a traditional dance of Diwali. Ms. Ganesh, originally from Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India, demonstrates the arts of sari-wrapping and Rangoli (sand art).

Alima Tchafa Minku, from Cameroon, highlights daily life in Cameroonian culture in addition to its similarities to American culture. Her table features masks, jewelry, clothing, money, food and photographs from her trip to Foumban, Cameroon to visit family.

Muqaddas Ejaz, originally from Pakistan, incorporates photos, maps and mementos to narrate vignettes of her country. She also gives an introduction to Arabic languages and celebration of Eid.

Members of Lajna Ima’illah, the women’s auxiliary of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, answer questions about the basics of Islam and discuss Islamic festivals, art, and history. Opportunities for children include writing one’s name in Arabic plus henna hand art.


Throughout the afternoon, guests can enjoy Peanutbutter’s face painting troupe and balloon creations. Make-and-take craft tables invite visitors to create unity wreaths, peace doves and Sphinx ornaments, plus children can refuel in the Chinese Rotunda with a free cupcake from Restaurant Associates while supplies last.

The Pepper Mill Café gets into the spirit, offering a 10% discount on a variety of hot entrees and holiday desserts available for purchase.

International Classroom, providing most of the afternoon’s presenters, is an innovative program within the Penn Museum, offering international and multicultural education for a variety of ages using a broad range of presentations, lectures, and workshops. Since its inception in 1961, several thousand international students have participated in International Classroom programs, offering a first hand perspective on specific countries or regions.

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Arts & Culture
Arts and Culture
History and Preservation
Community Arts
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