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This Winter, Warm Up at The Met!

Picture of The Met during winter with animation of snow falling and bare trees.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art during the winter. GIF by Skyla Choi

What are you excited about this winter? Spending time with family or taking a break from school? Drinking hot chocolate or curling up some place warm? Come start off your festivities at The Met. The Museum's galleries are home to winter traditions from around the world. Below are three to get you started.


Ritual Vessel: Horse with Figures (Aduno Koro). 16th–19th century. Mali. Dogon peoples. Wood, H. 52.1 cm (20 1/2 in); L. 236.2 cm (93 in); D. 47 cm (18 1/2 in). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Bequest of Nelson A. Rockefeller, 1979 (1979.206.255)

On December 21, the solstice marks the beginning of winter in the Northern Hemisphere, the half of the earth that lies above the equator. In Mali, a country in West Africa, the Dogon peoples celebrate a plentiful harvest during the winter solstice with a ceremony called goru. This seven-foot-long vessel was used during goru to hold offerings to Amma the Creator and the ancestors. It represents a mythical ark, or a very large boat, that held the eight original human ancestors and everything they needed for life on Earth. You can find it in gallery 350 at The Met Fifth Avenue.


Hanukkah lamp, 1866–72. Polish, Lviv (also called Lvov or Lemberg). Silver: cast, chased and engraved, 33 9/16 x 23 1/8 in., 60 lb. (85.3 x 58.7 cm, 27.2 kg). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, On loan from The Moldovan Family Collection (L.2018.60a–qq)

Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, is an eight-day celebration of light over darkness. People around the world add candles to the menorah, or ceremonial lamp that holds eight candles, one for each night of Hanukkah. The menorah represents the lamp in the Holy Temple that, during troubled times, stayed lit for eight days when there was only enough oil for one. You can discover this Eastern European silver menorah and the traditions of Hanukkah in gallery 556 at The Met Fifth Avenue through December 2018.

Annual Christmas Tree and Neapolitan Baroque Crèche Display

The Met's Annual Christmas Tree and Neapolitan Baroque Crèche display: a twenty-foot blue spruce with a collection of eighteenth-century Neapolitan angels and cherubs among its boughs and groups of realistic crèche figures flanking the Nativity scene at its base, on view in the Museum's Medieval Sculpture Hall.

Families aren't the only ones who can have traditions. The Met has its very own winter holiday tradition. For about the past sixty years, The Met has displayed a twenty-foot Christmas tree every year for the holiday season. It is decorated with almost two hundred nativity figures from Naples, Italy, that are over three hundred years old. Come visit the tree in gallery 305 at The Met Fifth Avenue through January 6, 2019.

Inspired to make some art? Drop by for free art and storytelling activities during Family Afternoon: Winter Wear on Sunday, December 30, or for one of our School Break Programs. Before you leave, warm up with some hot apple cider and hot chocolate in The Cafeteria (and don't miss the holiday sugar sculpture, handcrafted by one of our pastry chefs). 

Check out all the events at the Museum this winter season with This Holiday Season at The Met. There's more to enjoy at all three Met locations!

Visit #MetKids, a digital feature made for, with, and by kids! Discover fun facts about works of art, hop in our time machine, watch behind-the-scenes videos, and get ideas for your own creative projects.

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