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Category Country Profile

11
Jun

Singapore: An Expat Utopia

Singapore is considered by many to be an expat metropolis. Companies from all around the world are sending their employees to Singapore, where four main ethnicities (Chinese, Malay, Indian, and Eurasian) co-exist in tropical tolerance. A large community of foreigners lives and raises their children in the country without fear of crime or even impolite …

20
May

Kids & Culture: End of School Celebrations in Eastern Europe and Russia

As schools across the USA prepare for the summer break, schools in several Eastern European nations and Russia are also celebrating end of year festivities. The end of year celebration is known as последний звонок (posledni svonok) or last bell. Traditionally during this ceremony, boys wear suits or formal attire, while girls wear the traditional school …

27
Apr

Happy King’s Day!

King’s Day in the Netherlands is known as the biggest street party of the year.  City streets and squares become a sea of orange as most citizens wear the national color in celebration.  The name of the holiday changes depending on whether a king or queen is ruling and the day is a celebration of the …

20
Mar

Persian New Year

Persian New Year (Nowruz) is upon us.  Today, March 20th, Persians will celebrate the New Year. Nowruz marks the first day of spring, the equinox, and the beginning of the year in the Persian calendar. Nowruz is celebrated by many different ethnic communities and religious backgrounds. Though it is a secular holiday, Zoroastrians hold it …

26
Feb

China’s Newest Status Symbol

A recent article from BBC pointed out one of China’s latest social problems: etiquette. China has become one of the most powerful countries in the world. In a 30 year span, the country has moved from an isolated state to a powerhouse requiring more interaction with other cultures. China has also gained an incredible amount …

13
Feb

Chinese New Year 2015

This year the Chinese New Year, also called the Spring Festival, begins on February 19th.  It is the longest celebration on the Chinese calendar, and many consider it to be the most important holiday in China. The belief behind the holiday is that people born on the corresponding years of animals will take on some …

30
Dec

New Year’s Traditions in Russia

For many countries, the majority of winter holidays have passed, but this is not the case in Russia!  In fact, Russian New Year’s Eve trumps Christmas in importance, with significant celebrations occurring all over the country in recognition of the holiday.  There are actually two New Year’s holidays celebrated in Russia.  Russia’s “Old” New Year …

23
Dec

Holiday Traditions Around the World: Part 3 – Sweden

In our last installment of Holiday Traditions Around the World, we will uncover traditions of the St. Lucia holiday in Sweden.  We at Cultural Awareness International thank you for following this series and wish you and yours a very happy holiday season! St. Lucia’s Day in Sweden The Swedish Christmas season begins each year with …

17
Dec

Holiday Traditions Around the World: Part 2 – Ethiopia

Timkat in Ethiopia Each January, the remote city of Gondar is inundated with pilgrims during the religious festival of Timkat, the Ethiopian Orthodox celebration of Epiphany. One of the most important holidays of the year, Timkat is a two-day festival beginning on January 19th that celebrates the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River. On …

10
Dec

Holiday Traditions Around the World: Part 1 – Peru

Join Cultural Awareness International for this three-part series as we explore holiday traditions around the world . . . Christmas in Peru Christmas traditions in Peru date back to 1535.  The holiday has a long history in the country as the majority of the population practices Catholicism.  December 24th is La Noche Buena, or “Good …

22
Oct

Calaveras and Marigolds: Celebrating Dia de los Muertos

Día de los Muertos, the Mexican ‘Day of the Dead’ holiday is celebrated annually from October 31st to November 2nd. During the 3-day-long festivities, family members celebrate loved ones who have passed away by bringing sugar skulls (Calaveras), marigolds as well as photographs to decorate family members’ graves with. Marigolds are used in these rituals …

8
Sep

On A Scale of 1-10, How American Do You Feel?

Did you know that when you renounce your U.S. citizenship, you have to pay a fee? The subsidized fee used to be $450, but this week the State Department has announced that they plan to raise the fee to $2,350. The process has also been become increasingly more complicated. Now, not only do you have …

4
Sep

Dis-United Kingdom: Will Scotland Become Independent?

A referendum on whether Scotland should become an independent nation, thus breaking away from the United Kingdom, will take place on Thursday, September 18th. The vote is a long time coming as Scotland has been toying with the idea of independence since it first sent 11 members of parliament to Westminster in the 1970s. Were …

6
May

Why Do We Celebrate Cinco de Mayo

Yesterday was Cinco de Mayo, a festive celebration held in many regions around the globe.  Mistaken by many outside of Mexico to be Mexico’s Independence Day, it is actually a day to commemorate the military victory at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862 (an underdog’s story of a people’s struggle to remain independent).  …

18
Oct

“C’est la vie” in France

Living and traveling in a country offer two completely different experiences. No doubt that’s why the French, who live in one of the most popular vacation destinations in the world, are more likely to thoroughly explore their own country before setting foot into another. This doesn’t mean that the French don’t appreciate other cultures. On …

17
Oct

L’Italiano Una Bella Lingua!

“Bravo”, “ciao”, “arrivederci” you don’t have to be in Italy to understand what someone is saying to you. These are all words most of us not only understand but possibly even use in conversation.

16
Oct

Norway: Land of the Midnight Sun

Norway is a small country of 4.5 million people in northern Europe. This stunning country has a lot to offer: Vikings, Leif Eirikson who first discovered America, the Nobel Peace Prize, Henrik Ibsen, and Edvard Munch among others. Nevertheless, what makes Norway so extraordinary is its beautiful and unique nature, which has shaped Norwegian life …

12
Oct

Being Colombian is an Act of Faith

by Jorge Luis Borges, writer. From a very early age, we are taught in school that Colombia occupies the premium corner of the South American continent: coasts in both oceans, a breathtaking piece of the Andes, magnificent extensions of rainforest, deserts, valleys….name practically any topographical miracle: it exists. As with all self evident truths, we …

8
Oct

India: The Land of Mystery and Diversity

India is a fascinating country. It is home to thousand year old ornately sculptured temples, the world famous Taj Mahal, modern skyscrapers, and prevalent slums. It is framed by the daunting Himalaya’s in the north, the Arabian Sea and Pakistan in the west and the Bay of Bengal and Bangladesh in the east. The southern tip …

5
Oct

Talking Politics, British Style

So closely tied in history and philosophy, so interwoven culturally, and of course, “divided by a common language” (to borrow from George Bernard Shaw), one can too quickly overlook the differences between the UK and the USA. This runs in spades when it comes to politics. Differences in the nature of government and in how …

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