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Culture Corner's Holiday Open House is Friday

Kari Lucin/Daily /Daily Globe Le Lucht (left), coordinator of diversity and multicultural activities at Minnesota West Community and Technical College, and Marcia Johnson, Minnesota West librarian, work together to decorate a display case.

WORTHINGTON -- Visitors will be invited to celebrate holiday traditions from around the world at the Culture Corner's Holiday Open House from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday at Minnesota West Community and Technical College.

"It's educational, but it's also fellowship... and holiday spirit," said Le Lucht, coordinator of diversity and multicultural activities at Minnesota West.

Local people from different cultural backgrounds will unite to present a wide variety of traditional holiday food, music, art and activities, mostly in the main building of Minnesota West's Worthington campus.

Dale and Joanne Carlson will present information on the holiday traditions of Norway and Sweden. Leigh Cumiskey will offer information about Korea. Five exchange students from Fulda -- four from Germany and another from New Zealand -- will share their holiday traditions. Estefany Castillo will share traditions from El Salvador. Rose and Roger Spillers will feature Greek traditions.

Lucht and Jaidy Kolander of the Nobles County Integration Collaborative are coordinating the event.

A few tables will feature Christmas traditions from Mexico. One family will demonstrate papel picado, scenes cut from tissue paper, and visitors will be able to try cutting their own scenes. Mexico gave the world three things for Christmas, Lucht said -- turkeys, chocolate and the traditional holiday poinsettias.

Other cultures featured at the Open House will be Austria, Denmark, Laos, Guatemala, Ethiopia, Colombia, Panama, Israel, England, East Africa, China, Ecuador and the United States.

At last year's open house, "I tasted things I never had and tried traditions that weren't my own," said Marcia Johnson, a librarian at Minnesota West, as she helped Lucht decorate the commons area for the celebration.

Though most of the displays will revolve around the holidays, not all the holidays are Christmas. Dec. 8 is Mother's Day in Panama, and tradition dictates a gift of flowers for mothers as well as a contest for the mother with the whitest hair -- considered a sign of wisdom. Many European and Latin American countries celebrate Three Kings Day, commemorating the three wise men who visited the Christ child.

In addition to all the traditions represented at the Open House, JBS Local Union 1161 arranged for Santa Claus to offer children rides on a horse and wagon team, and the Great Plains String Quartet and Galen Benton will perform live at the event.

"We truly do have so much richness in the community," Lucht said.

Adults will be asked for a set donation at the door, and people 14 years old and younger may enter for free. Ticket proceeds go toward scholarships for ethnically diverse students at the Worthington campus of Minnesota West.