Holiday happenings offered at Ethnic Heritage Museum

Holiday traditions at Rockford's Ethnic Heritage Museum.
Holiday traditions at Rockford’s Ethnic Heritage Museum.

By David Ruffin

We invite you to join the Ethnic Heritage Museum (EHM) during the rest of November and the month of December to enjoy traditional holiday celebrations.

The museum looks its festive best as it showcases some of the holiday traditions of the museum’s six ethnic groups: African-American, Hispanic, Irish, Italian, Lithuanian and Polish.

All of the galleries are celebrating Christmas, and the African-American Gallery also is celebrating Kwanzaa.

Holiday traditions at Rockford's Ethnic Heritage Museum.
Holiday traditions at Rockford’s Ethnic Heritage Museum.

Saturday, Dec. 6, The Hispanic Gallery — in cooperation with Veterans Memorial Hall — will host the 10th Annual La Posada Celebration. 

La Posada is an important Christmas custom observed for nine nights (Dec. 16-24) in Mexico and some other Hispanic countries. It is a reenactment of the biblical account of Mary and Joseph looking for a place to spend the night. 

A song begins that alternates between the neighborhood people outside the home, who are asking for lodging, and those inside the home. When the song ends, everyone participates in a festive celebration with children also breaking a pinãta. They partake in food, traditional fruit punch and merriment.

The Hispanic Gallery is hosting this year’s La Posada at Veterans Memorial Hall, 211 N. Main St., from 3 to 5 p.m., Dec. 6. It is free to the public, but donations are appreciated. A number of vendors have donated traditional Hispanic holiday treats for the visitors to sample. These treats include fruits, nuts, cookies, candies and hot chocolate.

The Ethnic Heritage Museum has a special holiday event each year during the Christmas season. This year, the museum is joining with Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum and the Erlander Home Museum to invite visitors to step back in time to enjoy cultural holiday decorations and activities from noon to 4 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 14. A horse-drawn wagon will circulate among the three sites. On that day, a single $12 ticket will give admission to one person to all three sites (or $36 for a group pass for four people). Children younger than 5 are admitted free. A single museum visit with normal charge may also be made that day.

The Ethnic Heritage Museum preserves the cultural history of six ethnic groups that have contributed greatly to southwest Rockford, the place where Rockford began. The museum is open each Sunday through December from 2 to 4 p.m. Admission is $5 per adult, $3 per student or $10 per family.

The museum is handicap accessible. Tours can be arranged by calling (815) 962-7402. For more information, visit www.ethnicheritagemuseum.org.

Feliz Navidad from the Hispanic Gallery, Happy Kwanzaa from the African-American Gallery and Merry Christmas from the Ethnic Heritage Museum!

From the Nov. 26-Dec. 2, 2014, issue

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