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Category Traditions & Foods

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 …

4
Jun

Food: How Cultures Eat And What It Means

  Eating, scarfing, imbibing, dining, and sating are just a few words we use to describe the act of placing food into our mouths. Conceivably it is the most significant commonality that humanity shares. Whatever shape, form, flavor, or seasoning food may take around the world, people eat. More than that, across the world people, …

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 …

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 …

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, …

1
Dec

Advent: Awaiting the Arrival of Christmas

December is upon us, and with that comes the old religious tradition of Christmas. But before Christmas –a time of gift giving, celebration, and joy—there is the waiting period.  This time of pause and expectation is known as Advent, and it symbolizes the anticipation of something new, something notable. Advent itself means “arrival” and it …

28
Oct

Globetrotting, Meal-Hopping, and the Wonders of a Taste Bud.

"Food is a central activity of mankind and one of the single most significant trademarks of a culture." –Mark Kurlansky It’s safe to assume we all know food is different when you go abroad. Whether a staple dish is a burrito, chicken feet, or a smörgås, you know not to expect to find everything you ...
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 …

16
Jun

Ramadan: Cleanse of the Mind, Body and Soul

Sometimes, we all need a detox. Our fast paced, plugged-in culture can leave us frazzled and out of synch with nature, personal relationships, and our inner selves. For the more than 1.5 billion adherents of Islam, a month long detox, both physical and spiritual, is an annual occurrence: Ramadan. Ramadan, the ninth month of the …

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, …

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 …

11
Dec

Christmas Traditions: Imported from Germany

WARNING: SANTA SPOILER ALERT! Many of the traditions that Westerners hold so dear during the holiday season actually stem from German folklore. A Christmas tree, commonly the evergreen fir tree, has been used to celebrate winter festivals (both Christian and Pagan) for thousands of years. Some pagans would use the tree or its branches as …

12
Nov

Celebrating the Festival of Light – Diwali in India

Diwali (Deepavali) is one of the biggest festivals for Hindus, celebrated with great enthusiasm and happiness all across India. The festival is celebrated for five continuous days, with the third day celebrated as the main Diwali festival or ‘Festival of Lights.’  Different colorful varieties of fireworks are always associated with the holiday. On this auspicious …

29
Oct

How Cultures Honor the Departed

Ghosts, goblins, witches, and zombies usually dominate this time of year for the Halloween holiday in the U.S. However, around the world November 1st is acknowledged as a holiday to remember those who have passed.  The most famous celebration occurs in Latin America, specifically Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead) in Mexico. The festival …

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