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Archives

21
Dec

CAI’s Expat Survival Guide for the Holidays

Usually one for embracing change and experiencing new things, knowing that my family at home in the USA was gearing up to celebrate Christmas while I was abroad made me long for the familiarity of home. Watching the days grow shorter and thermostat drop heightened my sense of anticipation for my favorite time of year. …

29
Mar

Moveable Feast: Easter a Celebration of God

This upcoming weekend marks the arrival of Western Easter, followed by the observance of Orthodox Easter or Pascha. For Christians around the world, either of Eastern, Western, or Protestant, faith these observances are for many the most significant and holiest celebrations of the year. Hundreds of millions celebrate with family and dear friends alike. Religious …

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 …

25
Aug

Asia’s Ghost Festivals

  The Ghost Festival is a traditional Buddhist and Taoist festival held in many Asian countries. Taiwan is celebrating the Ghost Festival on Friday, August 28th, though in some countries the date is different. Traditionally, locals believed that ghosts haunt the island of Taiwan for the entire seventh lunar month, when the mid-summer Ghost Festival …

17
Jul

Cultural Brief: Bastille Day

This past Tuesday was Bastille Day, a French holiday celebrating the country’s independence. The French National Day is celebrated on July 14 and is celebrated to commemorate the storming of the Bastille prison in 1789, which helped spark the French Revolution. This was the culmination in Paris of a violent revolution that had begun two …

9
Jul

A Cultural Adrenaline Rush: Spain’s Running of the Bulls

This week the annual Running of the Bulls took place in Pamplona, Spain. Every year from the 6th to the 14th of July the fiestas of San Fermin are celebrated in Pamplona. These fiestas are celebrated in honor of San Fermin, a patron saint of Navarra, the region of Spain where Pamplona is located. Though …

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 …

4
Mar

Celebrating Spring in Slavic Cultures

While IHOP in the USA has national Pancake Day, people in Russia and the Ukraine celebrate a pancake week! Maslinitsa or Blini (Ма́сленица) are ultra-thin, slightly tart pancakes more akin to the French crepes or German blintz. The week-long pancake holiday, also known as Maslinitsa, is the oldest surviving Russian holiday. Evidence suggests it may …

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 …

4
Feb

Let the Good Times Roll: Mardi Gras and Carnival Celebrations

Colorful celebrations are about to begin!  All around the world, countries are preparing for Carnival or Mardi-Gras.  This period before Lent has turned into a spectacular event, with a week or month-long celebrations in some parts of the world.  Carnival refers to the period of feasting and fun that begins on January 6th, the Feast …

28
Jan

Do You Want to Build a Snowman?

With “snowpocalypse” and snowstorm Juno wrapping up in the Northeastern US, people are finding creative uses for their snow. Many build snowmen or form ramps to go sledding, skiing, or snowboarding on, or simply use the snow as an extra cooler and place anything from meat to alcohol in the packed snow. Around the world, people …

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 …

22
Sep

It’s Time For Diwali!

The Diwali festival, also known as the festival of lights, is arguably one of India’s largest celebrations. Signifying the start of the Hindu New Year, Diwali also marks the beginning of winter. The dates of the festival are based on the lunar calendar, with this year’s start date falling on October 21st. However, the main …