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16
Nov

Giving Thanks in North America

Each passing year brings its share of experiences, growth, and change. One constant in our lives remains: the holidays we celebrate and the traditions that surround them.  Our holidays affect us in a personal way, linking us to family and close friends. Passing seasons evoke memories and instill in us an appreciation for our culture and a desire …

13
Oct

Diverse Identities Within Borders

We often think of a country’s border as a defined albeit arbitrary demarcation of culture, language, traditions, mores, and values. A germane question to ask, considering the recent unrest in Catalonia surrounding an independence referendum from Spain is: what exactly is national identity? How do we define and understand it? What are the parameters and …

18
Sep

History and Culture Tango in a Cup of Yerba Mate

Yerba mate tea is much more than the latest craze touted by health aficionados, which there are many. Conveniently packaged in tea bags, cans, and bottles, and now commonly sold in a variety of shops, mate has hit the mainstream. Nevertheless, what exactly is yerba mate? Moreover, what cultural meaning does it have? Like coffee …

31
Aug

The Significance of Labor Day

Labor Day signifies various things for many in the United States of America: a long holiday weekend, a barbeque by the pool, the unofficial end of summer, the start of a new school year, and discounts at our favorite stores. Nevertheless, Labor Day honors the American Labor Movement. A movement filled with complex and unique struggles …

14
Aug

Idioms: A linguistic Journey Across Cultures

Idiomatic expressions are curious in their function within language as they mean more than what each word denotes. Even if idioms are metaphorical and figurative, once understood they serve as a palpable and distinct feature of any language. They allow the speaker to express themselves, articulating certain sentiments without explicitly saying so. Furthermore, they offer …

1
Jun

Saudi Arabia in the Spotlight

This week CAI brings you a special post with information on the Middle East from a renowned cultural expert, Grace Edwards, who has allowed us to share her expertise. Grace Edwards is a Western businesswoman, cross-cultural consultant, and author with decades of experience in Saudi Arabia and through the Middle East. Grace reveals that the …

4
May

May Day – Traditions Around the World

The 1st of May does not seem like a special time to many people, but it actually stands as a holiday with ancient roots. Though it is also a Labor Day holiday for parts of the world, there are multiple types of celebrations for the day, often involving social activities outside the home with the …

13
Apr

Holy Week and Easter around the World

This is Holy Week – a time when Christians around the world celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Holy Week always takes place the week before Easter, but does not include Easter itself. Across the world, people will celebrate in different ways. Some have fasted from certain aspects of …

6
Jan

New Year Traditions

Out with the old, in with the new – we say “goodbye” to 2016 and welcome 2017 with open arms. 2016 is seen by many as a tumultuous year, to say the least, and even though it certainly wasn’t all bad many people are still ready to usher in something new and different. Did you …

22
Dec

Christmas & KFC: A Unique Japanese Tradition

The end of the year is finally upon us, and one of the more prominent holidays is Christmas. Typically Christmas is associated with fir trees, presents, Santa, the birth of Jesus, holiday cheer and togetherness, and fried Chicken. Oh yes, you read that correctly, fried chicken. Japan has its own special way of celebrating Christmas, …

14
Oct

A Time of Thanksgiving

Continuing our theme from last week of seasonal holidays, one cannot ignore the time of thanks that is given in North America. Both Canada and the United States celebrate Thanksgiving – however the similarities and differences are of equal length. For instance, both holidays originated from a historical and religious background – Being thankful for …

7
Oct

Rosh Hashanah: Creation’s Beginning

As we take a step into the fall season, we are entering a time of many important holidays. Some secular, some religious, some strictly historical and some a cultural blend.  Rosh Hashanah is a Jewish holiday celebrated this year between Oct. 2nd and October 4th.  Rosh Hashanah is the celebration of creation as it correlates …

19
Aug

Parsi New Year: A Time of Renewal and Rejuvenation

The New Year is largely see as a time of renewal, rejuvenation, and restoration regardless, for the most part, of which culture you’re in. And though the New Year is far away in the West, the East is gearing up for a time of celebration. In India, there is a community of people known as …

10
Jun

Ramadan: Appealing to the Children

Ramadan –the holy month of Islam – has begun. During this time, Muslims across the world will fast from food and drink from the time the sun rises to the time the sun sets to show devotion and understand sacrifice. But in the West, Ramadan has largely been a cultural mystery.  Unlike Christmas or Easter, …

2
Jun

Dragon Boat Festival: A Cultural Cornerstone in China

The Dragon Boat Festival, also known as the Tuen Ng or Duanwu Festival, is a holiday that represents a cultural cornerstone for China. How the festival plays out can differ slightly based on geography, but each celebration is as important and valid as the last. Though the festivities can vary, there are some constants: Zongzi, …

13
Apr

Songkran: Buddha’s New Year

Songkran – Thailand’s answer to the New Year – is celebrated with laughs, color, and a lot of water.  Based off the Buddhist and Hindu calendar, April 13th to the 15th marks a new period for everyone. Depending on where you are in Thailand, they may celebrate it a little bit differently. For example, the …

18
Mar

Weddings Around the World: Africa

Now it’s time to explore the world’s second largest and second-most-populated continent: Africa. In many parts of the continent,  African weddings are an event that simply can’t be missed. Let’s take a look at a few! Nigerians love to celebrate such an important day, and this is seen the most in the fact that they have …

8
Mar

Weddings Around the World: Latin America

Last time, we explored weddings in Asia, highlighting the unique ways brides dress for their special day across the continent. Today we’re taking a look at Latin America and the traditions they hold. Venezuela absorbs customs from all over, including Hispanic, African, Italian, Portuguese culture and more. By taking from these cultures, you’ll find Venezuelan …

12
Feb

Weddings Around the World: Asia

Last week we covered European wedding traditions. Spring festivals around the world are starting soon and with that comes wedding bells.  This week, let’s explore Asian wedding traditions. A common tradition in India and many other countries is the henna, or Mehndi, tattoo for the bride before the ceremony. There are slight variations amongst regions …

26
Jan

Weddings Around the World: Europe

It is about that time of year again. Soon Facebook and calendars will be filled with wedding invitations and pictures of elaborate ceremonies. Over the years, many countries have all conformed to a basic wedding structure, but many countries still maintain centuries-old traditions. This week, we look into Europe . . . German traditions start …

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