The Szopka ("shop-kah") is an age-old art form that originated as elaborate structures for puppet theaters in the environs of Krakow, Poland. Combing brightly colored foils, ribbon, and other elements, szopka pieces feature a mixture of various architectural styles and allegorical characters. Troupes of strolling carolers would use these pieces as sets to perform morality plays during the winter holiday season. Award-winning artist and szopka expert, Dave Motak, will present this colorful folk tradition and discuss how it has influenced his own unique artwork.
Rich with ancient traditions and customs, Oshogatsu (Japanese New Year) is one of the most important holidays in Japan. Katsuko Shellhammer, Education Outreach Coordinator at the Japan-America Society of Pennsylvania, will share some of the ways in which people prepare to welcome and celebrate the new year.
Feliz Navidad! Some of Mexico’s best dishes are made right here in Pittsburgh. Tamales have been a feature of Mexican culture since before the Spanish conquest. They are made of a corn-based dough, wrapped in a corn husk and steam-cooked. Gluten-free, with meat or with fruit filling, they can be vegetarian, and are always delicious at any holiday party or celebration. Jesús Martinez, owner of La Palapa restaurant, and Flor Campos will explain more about the tradition and how-to of tamale making.