Nationality Rooms Slate Holiday Open House

Issue Date: 
November 26, 2007

Music, dance, food, crafts highlight Sunday program

Folk singers and dancers will fill the Cathedral of Learning’s Commons Room with song and gaiety on Sunday during the annual Nationality Rooms Holiday Open House.

Events will continue from noon until 4 p.m., and various Nationality Room committees will offer ethnic foods and crafts for purchase.

Each year, the 26 rooms that encircle the Cathedral of Learning’s Commons Room are trimmed to reflect their ethnic heritages, including such decorations as Lithuanian geometric straw ornaments, Polish paper cutouts, German gingerbread cookies, a French crèche, and a hand-carved Austrian manger scene.

For the open house and during holiday tours, guides in native costume adapt their daily presentations to include descriptions of holiday traditions celebrated throughout the world.

In addition, open house attendees will be able to view traditional performances and demonstrations by the Pittsburgh Chinese and Ren Wen Chinese schools, Grecian Odyssey Dancers, Natya Bhasah School of Dance, Young Filipino Americans of Pittsburgh, Scandinavian Folk Dancers of Pittsburgh, as well as dancers from Irish, Ukrainian, and Latin American groups.

An intricate bobbin lace weaving demonstration will be held in the Cathedral’s Croghan Schenley Room.

Participants and sponsors include Pitt’s African Heritage, Austrian, Chinese, Czechoslovakian, Finnish, German, Greek, Indian, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Swedish, Syria-Lebanon, Ukrainian, Yugoslav, Latin American, Philippine, Swiss, Thai, Turkish, and Welsh groups, along with Quo Vadis and the Pitt Women’s International Club and Women’s Association.

The Nationality Classrooms are gifts to the University from Pittsburgh’s ethnic groups. Built between 1938 and 2000, each room is designed in an architectural style appropriate to the country for which it is named.

The holiday tours run through Jan 18. The rooms are closed Dec. 24, 25, and 26, 2007, and Jan. 1, 2008. Admission is $3 for adults and $1 for children ages eight to 18. Children under eight are admitted free. For the complete tour schedule, visit