Santas From Around the World

If Light Up Night is an indicator, Pittsburgh knows how to throw a party. The atmosphere Friday night was festive and fun, providing ample opportunity to eat, drink and be merry.

There was live music and a fantastic artist who used a chainsaw to create ice sculptures. We shopped a little, heard a fun barbershop quartet, took a spin through Fort Pitt and saw a great laser light show. Not to mention Santa, gingerbread houses, multiple tree lightings, a European Christmas marketplace and fireworks throughout the.evening.

It doesn’t hurt that Zambelli Fireworks is a Pittsburgh company that consistently provides the city with the best fireworks displays around. Friday night was no exception.

But my favorite attraction of the evening was an exhibit called Spirits of Giving From Around the World. It features life sized, lifelike Santas and paintings that depict them in action.

This is a very American thing for me to say but I had never considered how drastically different Santa might be in other countries.

Here’s their American Santa.

But then, this one is from China. Christmas Old Man fills children’s stockings with gifts from a wicker basket he carries. One little girl in line ahead of us was concerned that his basket wasn’t very big. I loved Ireland’s St Stephen. He looks the embodiment of life and fertility. And I was amused by the French Pere Noel who stashes gifts in wooden shoes left out by good children while his mean spirited companion leaves only switches for bad boys and girls. Norway’s Julesven is stunning and reminds me of Old Man Winter personified.

Look at how intricate the details are on his beard.

Here are a few more pictures. Note that Haiti is represented by a woman!

They were just stunning and frankly, the experience was eye opening, leaving me a little ashamed that I had never realized this giving soul would look different in every country.

And you know something? I loved it. I loved learning through this display. And I loved how art and enlightenment were brought to the young and old, disguised as little more than a neat Christmas display.

This exhibit will be available to the public through January 1, 2020. Click here for hours and location.

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