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Holidays: Ritual, Celebration, and History   

In order to reflect CUNY's decision to hold distance-learning courses, Learning Across America will be continuing in an online format. Online courses will be held for the same number of credits as our in-person option. Please email us with questions at


Holidays: Ritual, Celebration, and History

Explore the history and rituals of the winter holidays and how our current traditions developed. We will examine the similarities and differences of the winter holidays across cultures, including St Lucia Day, Winter Solstice, Christmas, Hanukkah, Dongzhi, Kwanzaa, Three Kings Day, and others. 

Students will go into their own holiday season with a deeper connection to how mankind has engaged in ritual and celebration throughout history.

Keep reading for more information or click here to sign up.

This class meets online. Students will have a pre-assignment, homework, and a final project. Credit for J-1 visa students is 36 hours. Students earning credit for the J-1 visa must attend all live class meetings and complete all homework assignments.

(Times below listed in Eastern Time.
Click here for more details.)

Class meets online
Friday, December 11:  5pm–8pm 
Saturday, December 12:  10am–1:30pm
Sunday, December 13: 10am–1:30pm
Saturday, December 19: 10am–1:30pm 


About your Instructor

Melissa Shaw

MELISSA-SHAW-_headshotMelissa Shaw is a facilitator who offers a unique consultancy based in the arts, social justice, diversity and inclusion, and social emotional learning. She has facilitated in universities, schools, summer camps, detention centers, yeshivas, churches, corporate offices, and long-term temporary housing centers. She has facilitated workshops for high school students, security guards, chaplains, non-profit managers, video game designers, Buddhist monks, school principals, older adults, NGO leaders, and the NYPD. She is a teaching artist and creative coach for various community-based organizations, including Community Word Project and the Lulu and Leo Fund. Melissa also facilitates for a variety of the Anti-Defamation League's programs, including its A World of Difference Institute, Words to Action, Echoes and Reflections and Respect for All initiatives. She was on faculty for Drew University's 2018 Institute On Religion and Conflict Transformation where she helped to foster dialogue among religious and lay leaders from around the world. She is the Arts and Communication Advisor for the Muslim Jewish Solidarity Commitee. Last summer, Melissa was part of the prestigious Nahum Goldmann Fellowship cohort. She is an associate artist with Falconworks Artist Group. Melissa holds an M.F.A. from Sarah Lawrence College.



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Borough of Manhattan Community College
Center for Continuing Education & Workforce Development
25 Broadway 8th Fl New York, NY 10004
(212) 346-8410
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