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.White Snake Projects' 2021-2022 programming is supported in part by grants from the Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.
“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.
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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