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November 27, 2015

Travel around the world at Penn Museum with holiday activities

This year is 20th annual Peace Around the World celebration, where families can learn traditions of other cultures

Events Holidays
World Peace Day Penn Museum/for PhillyVoice

A sari-wrapping demonstration during one of Penn Museum’s holiday celebrations.

This year is the 20th annual Peace Around the World holiday celebration at the Penn Museum. On Dec. 5, visitors will get a chance to travel the world, explore various cultures, and learn holiday traditions by receiving a museum “passport.” International presenters will be stationed throughout the galleries to share cultural information on their countries’ holiday festivals, history, cuisine and traditions

One presentation offers visitors a chance to try on saris, draped by members of the Bharatiya Vidyalaya Cultural Center, and gives a demonstration of the folk art of Rangoli (sand art) on the museum’s floors. Rangoli is thought to bring good luck and is often used at Indian festivals and marriage celebrations. 

Another presentation offers an opportunity to learn about Islamic festivals, art and history. Visitors can also learn to write their name in Arabic or receive henna hand art. At the end of a presentation, guests get their passport stamped. Those with four or more country stamps earn a small memento.

The family-friendly afternoon also features storytelling, choral music, folk dance performances, balloon art, face painting and more. At the end of the day, visitors are invited to join in a peace flag community craft that will be hung in the museum. The exact itinerary for the day allows guests to choose from various activities. 

Peace Around the World at Penn Museum

Face painting by the Peanut Butter Troupe at the Penn Museum (Penn Museum/PhillyVoice)

At 11 a.m., and 2 p.m., internationally acclaimed Middle Eastern percussionist Joe Tayoun leads a Middle Eastern Drum Workshop. A limited number of drums are provided, but guests are welcome to bring their own. From 11:30 to 12:15 p.m., visitors can explore Indian culture through yoga and a guided meditation with the members of the Bharatiya Vidyalaya Cultural Center.

“Celebrations around the World” family gallery tours depart from Pepper Hall at noon and 3 p.m., venturing through the "Native American Voices: The People—Here and Now" exhibition, plus the Africa, Mexico and Central America, and Rome galleries. Visitors will have a chance to explore ceremonial rites of passage, feasts and music of celebrations past and present on the tour. 

At 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 pm, Momma Sandi, a member of the National Association of African-American Storytellers, shares tales of Kwanzaa.

Family story-telling times are at 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. when the picture book "What Does Peace Feel Like?" by Vladimir Radunsky will be read. The book describes the five senses of peace according to grade-school students from around the world.

From 3 to 3:30 p.m. children from the Bharatiya Vidyalaya Cultural Center perform traditional dances from India. 

Whatever activities visitors choose to participate in, they will learn more about the cultures of the world.

20th Annual Peace Around the World

Saturday, Dec. 5
11 a.m. to 4 p.m. | Free
Penn Museum
3260 South St.
(215) 898-4000