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Open House Showcases Holiday Traditions from Around the World

Song, dance, food, and gift tables representing ethnic groups from around the globe will be on display starting Sunday, when the University of Pittsburgh's Nationality Rooms Program officially opens for the holiday season with its annual open house. The Nationality Rooms are gifts to the Cathedral of Learning from the ethnic communities in the tri-state area.

"They represent the good things that they brought to America. They have many special themes. Some are religious, some are old traditional, others are folk art, and they are from Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Middle East," said E. Maxine Bruhns, director of the Nationality Rooms Program.

The annual holiday open house features African Drums and Scottish bagpipes. All rooms will be decorated for holidays, with guides in traditional dress. Chinese New Year will be featured in the China Room, featuring the animal of the year, lanterns, and red envelopes for a gift to the dragon for the Chinese New Year.

The annual holiday celebration is aimed at reminding Pittsburgh-area residents and visitors of their roots.

"We didn't grow on trees, we basically are all immigrants. Unless you're a Native American, you came here from somewhere else. We like for people to get in touch with their background, whether they are Hungarian, or Greek, or African American, or Romanian," said Bruhns.

The open house is on Sunday, December 4, from noon to 4:00 PM, at the Cathedral of Learning, and is free and open to the public.