On Christmas Eve in 1947, fourteen year-old Portuguese immigrant, Armindo Souza arrived at Union Station
with his parents Antonio and Teresa, and his older brother, Antonio, Jr. From the station, they walked through four feet of snow to their home on Buchanan St. in South Bethlehem. In 1987, while a member of the Pennsylvania Governors Heritage Affairs Advisory Commission, Armindo headed the first “Portuguese Heritage Week” proclaimed by the Christmas in South Bethlehem ~ An Ethnic Experience German immigrants brought the Christmas tree to America in the 1800s. Prior to the Civil War, President Franklin Pierce was the first to have a Christmas tree in the White House. Today, American holiday celebrations include many traditions, especially those brought by ethnic groups to South Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The American Christmas Tree state. In the Pennsylvania State Capitol, Armindo noticed a collection of Christmas trees on display, decorated by resident ethnic groups from around the State. In 1991, while he served on the South Bethlehem Historical Society Board of Directors, Armindo applied a similar concept of decorating ethnic trees, which became Christmas in South Bethlehem—An Ethnic Experience. Through this annual Christmas tree display, ethnic diversity is known and celebrated in South Bethlehem—thanks to Armindo Souza.
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