Colorfully decorated Psyanky eggs
Features & Articles

Get ready for spring with Pitt Nationality Room tours

  • Arts and Humanities
  • Global
  • Our City/Our Campus

Who cares what the groundhogs say: Pitt is ready for spring. And what better way to celebrate than learning how people around the world welcome the season?

Quo Vadis, the official student tour guides of the University of Pittsburgh’s Nationality Rooms, is offering the chance to do just that.

Similar to the fall Halloween tours, the spring tours will take place over two evenings: Friday, March 18 and Saturday, March 19. The tours will feature nine rooms with different presenters showcasing not only the details of the space, but also the spring traditions associated with that region. Tours are open to everyone, so bring your friends and family. Tickets can be reserved ahead of time and cost $5.

Here’s a sneak peek.

Beeswax in Ukraine

Maslenitsa, or Pancake Week, is celebrated February or March with outdoor activities and pancakes called mlintsi, which are said to resemble the sun. Pitt’s Ukrainian Nationality Room features ornately painted Easter eggs called Psyanky (pictured above), which depict special symbols from different regions of Ukraine. These designs are created by using a combination of beeswax and dye in a repetitive artistic process until the desired pattern is achieved.

Tulips in Turkey

The Istanbul Tulip Festival held every April boasts colorful “flower carpets” — mosaics of millions of flowers made to look like ornate rugs. Tulips have long played an important role in the region’s art, poetry and culture, with an entire era named after them: the Tulip period, which was a relatively peaceful time in the early 1700s.

Maypoles in the Czech Republic

The Czechoslovak Room incorporates elements from not only the Czech Republic, but Slovakia and other eastern European countries, so several traditions will be covered. One of these traditions, specifically from the Czech Republic, is the erecting of maypoles — a decorated tree trunk, most often built on April 30 or May 1. The top is decorated with colorful ribbons made of fabric or crêpe paper and a decorated wreath is hung on it. The poles are a source of great pride for many Czech villages.


— Kendal Johnson