University of Pittsburgh
November 24, 2009

Pitt to Host Annual Nationality Rooms Holiday Open House Dec. 6

Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH-The University of Pittsburgh will host the annual Nationality Rooms Holiday Open House, featuring performances by area folk singers and dancers, from noon to 4 p.m. Dec. 6 in the Cathedral of Learning Commons Room, 4200 Fifth Ave., Oakland.

Admission is free; ethnic foods and crafts will be available for purchase.

Each year, the 27 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 Advent wreath, a French crèche, and a hand-carved Austrian manger scene. For the Open House, guides in national dress will adapt their daily presentations to include descriptions of holiday traditions celebrated throughout the world.

Open House attendees will be able to view traditional dance performances by the Alpen Schuhplattler, the Indian Bhangra, the Greek Odyssey Dancers, and the Young Filipino-American Association of Pittsburgh; Taiko drumming from the Bethany College Japan Outreach; a lion dance by the OCA Youth Performance Ensemble, with additional performances by the Pittsburgh Chinese School and the Peters Township Chinese School; and the Pittsburgh Swiss Singers. A traditional Japanese tea ceremony will take place in the Cathedral of Learning's Room 324.

Participants and sponsors are Pitt's African Heritage, Austrian, Chinese, Czechoslovak, Finnish, French, 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, the Women's International Club, the University of Pittsburgh's Women's Association, the Bobbin Lace Makers, and the Pittsburgh Folk Festival.

The holiday tours run through Jan. 15-except for Nov. 26, Dec. 24, 25, 26, and Jan. 1-taped tours are available without reservations, from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Mondays through Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Sundays. On Nov. 27 and from Dec. 27 through 31, the rooms are open for guided tours beginning at 10 a.m. on first-come, first-served basis. In all cases, the last tour begins at 2:30 p.m.

The Nationality Classrooms are gifts to the University from Pittsburgh's ethnic groups. Built between 1938 and 2008, the rooms are designed in an architectural style appropriate to the country for which it is named.

For more information about the Open House, contact the Nationality Rooms Programs office at 412-624-6000 or visit