December 10, 2022
WGBH Calderwood Studio
While Christmas is an important holiday for many Americans, it is just one thread in a colorful tapestry of holidays celebrated in the United States today. This December, join us for the inaugural edition of "Let's Celebrate! Living Holiday Traditions in America,” a new series created to complement traditional holiday programming. We begin our celebration with four 20-minute operas exploring the traditions and stories of the Day of the Dead, Eid al-Adha, Havdalah, and the Spring Festival.
“Let’s Celebrate!,” an annual series that will be inaugurated in December 2022, draws on diverse cultural traditions to supplement traditional holiday programming with shows reflective of White Snake Projects’ beautiful and diverse community of artists and opera lovers.
celebrating The Day of the Dead
Rosa, an adopted child separated from her family at the Mexican border, learns her origin story after making an offering on the Day of the Dead.
A woman diagnosed with Alzheimer's contemplates her last celebration of Havdalah and the passing of the celebrant's torch to her children.
celebrating The Spring Festival
Two long lost friends re-experience the Spring Festival and together find strength to navigate the closure of their old lives and let in new possibilities.
celebrating Eid al Adha
Samiir escapes death in Somalia and celebrates his first Christmas in America, evoking memories of his favorite holiday with his mom, Eid al Adha.
I was born in Singapore and grew up during British colonial rule. There’s much to object to in my upbringing; but, there’s also so much color and joy in the multitude of cultural experiences that were an integral part of my life. Singapore stood, and still stands, at the crossroads of trade, commerce and political life in Southeast Asia. It was and remains today the gateway between Asia and the world. When I grew up, Singapore’s society was teeming with multicultural influences, some of it colonial – the British, Dutch and French – but a lot of it regional – the Chinese, Indians, Malays and other SE Asians. So, I grew up surrounded by a motley array of cultural celebrations like Thaipusam, Diwali, the Spring Festival, the Mooncake/Lantern Festival, Eid al-Adha, Christmas, Easter and many more. What could be more wonderful for a child? Holidays every month, but even better, food, spectacle, parties with friends of different ethnicities. Wow! After I left Singapore, I missed the tradition of coming together with those of different ethnic, racial and religious origins to celebrate each other’s important festivals. Thus was born “Let’s Celebrate!,” a series of four 20-minute operas celebrating stories of America’s diverse ethnic communities. We present it in December, regardless of when the festivals actually occur in the calendar, as an alternative to traditional Christmas programming and an opportunity for us, as Americans, to get to know, and to celebrate, the diversity in our backyards.
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