If you were growing up in Belgium, you might get ready for Nieuwjaarsdag on Jan. 1 by finding some fancy paper adorned with angels or flowers and writing on it a New Year’s message wishing your family health and happiness — and maybe a promise to be on your best behavior all through 2014.
After that you might make a golden crown out of paper so that the person chosen “king for a day” on Driekonigendag, or Three Kings Day, on Jan. 6 would have something to wear on his or her head.
If you were celebrating the New Year in Japan or China, you might make a fancy lantern out of paper. And, as you looked forward to the beginning of the Chinese New Year on Jan. 31, you’d probably congratulate all your soon-to-turn-12 friends, the ones who were born the last time the Year of the Horse appeared in the 12-year cycle.
“There’s a story about all the animals having a race and how they all got to the other side of a river,” Stefanie Colarusso of the Everhart Museum staff said, explaining youngsters will learn about the rat, ox, tiger, pig, rabbit, dragon, snake, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and horse and their place in the Chinese zodiac.
That’s just a sample of the crafts children can make and the stories they’ll hear if they take part in the Everhart’s Museum Adventure Week. The holiday workshop, titled “Ringing in the New Year Around the World,” will take place on Thursday and on Dec. 27, Dec. 30 and Dec. 31.
Thursday’s activities will include the crafting of paper lanterns and lucky goldfish in honor of Japan and China.
On Dec. 27 there will be gold crowns and New Year’s greetings in the style of Belgium and France.
Dec. 30 will include rattles and intricate paper cutting in the style of Mexico, and Dec. 31 will incorporate some United States-style noisemakers and glittery decorations.
Thanks to Everhart staffer Maura Cullen, the youngsters will learn folk dances of various regions of the world each day.
To represent Japan and China, the children will learn a “lion dance,” Cullen said, with the Chinese version focused on agility and aerobics and the Japanese version being “much more fluid.”
For Belgium and France, she said, there will be a dance that involves “a lot of skipping, similar to a jig or tarantella. They’ll learn about timing and rhythm, upbeats and downbeats.”
To represent Mexico Cullen, who studied dance locally and at Penn State University’s main campus, expects to teach a hat dance and for the United States, some tap because “American tap dance is an art form that originated here.”
Each day, a three-hour session will take place in the morning for children in kindergarten through second grade followed by a three-hour session designed for third- through sixth-graders in the afternoon.