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Category Culture

22
Jan

Fasting Around the World

It is almost February, which means that Mardi Gras is just around the corner!  After all the Mardi Gras festivities, the season of Lent will begin, and many around the world will adjust their normal diet for religious reasons.  During the season of Lent, Christians, specifically, Catholics, give up a certain food or practice fasting.  …

7
Jan

“Culture” is 2014’s Word of the Year

Cul•ture noun ˈkəl-chər : the beliefs, customs, arts, etc., of a particular society, group, place, or time : a particular society that has its own beliefs, ways of life, art, etc. : a way of thinking, behaving, or working that exists in a place or organization (such as a business) Last month, dictionary giant Merriam-Webster …

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 …

20
May

2014 World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development

In the great words of Dr. Seuss’ Butter Battle Book “And the things that you’ve heard about Zooks are all true. The terribly, horrible thing that they do, and in every Zook house and in every Zook town every Zook eats his bread with the butter side down. But we Yooks, when we eat, when …

13
May

FIFA: Bridging Cultures and Uniting People

In less than one month, Brazil will be hosting the World Cup.  Much has been in the news regarding the event and the internal tensions it has created in Brazil.  With so much stress and negative media attention, why would a country want to host the competition?  Why is it so important? Football, also known …

8
May

What is the Eurovision Song Contest

This Saturday, 10 May 2014 many people throughout the world will be paying close attention to the Eurovision Song Contest 2014 Grand Final.  The Eurovision Song Contest is essentially a European competition where participating countries each enter one musical act to represent their country.  This contest, established in 1956, predates American Idol, Pop Idol, and …

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 …

20
Sep

Communicating Effectively with Non-Native English Speakers

If you can read this sentence with ease, then you might be one of many who take communicating in English for granted. Not only is English the second most spoken language in the world, impressively, but it is also the most widely used language on the internet and the most commonly used platform for business and …

15
Sep

The Adaptation of Culture

Borrowing ideas from other nations and adapting them to fit your own culture has been the norm since the history of human civilizations. The Greeks took papyrus and scrolls from the Egyptians, made libraries, and educated the world. The Italians learned how to make noodles from the Chinese and established a world-renowned cuisine. Recently, US …

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