December 2018 | By Joe Snell | Photos by the Teachers and Students of Motwa Assyrian Language School
Chicago, IL – An Assyrian Christmas tree has been included in The Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago’s annual “Christmas Around the World” exhibit.
The event, which runs from Nov. 15 through Jan. 6, features a 45-foot-tall Christmas tree surrounded by 50 smaller trees, each representing one of Chicago’s ethnic communities including Armenia, Germany, Lebanon and Sweden.
The Assyrian tree, titled “Eedokun breekha,” features themes of brotherhood including photos of children from the Assyrian Council of Illinois (ANCI) dancing the khigga (folk dance) to holding the yalikhta (cloth decorated with coins for good luck) to images of the lamassu, the Assyrian flag, the Mesopotamian flower and the Assyrian alphabet.
A number of symbolic ornaments and flags from around the world also draped the display. Marked underneath each flag was the total number of Assyrians living in each country. Written underneath a flag of Finland, for example, showed that 300 Assyrians lived in the country. A flag of the United States showed nearly 400,000.
This is the second year the museum’s Christmas exhibit will feature an Assyrian tree. Decorating began on Nov. 4 by the teachers and students of the Assyrian Language School of ANCI. The group encourages anyone who visits the tree to post a picture and tag @AssyrianChristmasTree or #AssyrianChristmasTree. Anyone who does will be entered into a raffle to win an ornament from this year’s tree.
“Christmas Around the World” began in 1942 to honor Allied countries during World War II. That year, a single tree was newly decorated every day for twelve straight days to highlight the countries fighting alongside America. In 1994, the exhibit “Holidays of Lights” was added to incorporate over 30,000 lights on the trees and inside venue.
The Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago is one of the largest science museums in the world. It includes 35,000 artifacts and welcomes nearly 1.5 million visitors each year. Major permanent exhibits include “The Great Train Story”, “Colleen Moore’s Fairy Castle” and “Coal Mine”.
Last year, the museum added the Assyrian flag to its permanent display of worldwide flags.
Visit the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago main page for more information.