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Archives

6
Sep

Enkutatash – Ethiopian New Year

Thursday, September 12th, marks the first day of the first month – known as Meskerem – of the new year for both Ethiopia and Eritrea. The name “Enkutatash” translates to “Gift of Jewels” and alludes to a centuries-old tale of Queen of Sheba’s visit to King Solomon. She brought a range of gifts for the …

18
Apr

Holy Week around the World

Holy Week is a time when Christians around the world celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday and marks Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem before his crucifixion. Palm Sunday is often celebrated with a parade and procession of palm fronds that symbolize those laid at …

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. …

2
Nov

Honoring the Dead: Mexico’s Día de los Muertos

By: Ivonne Juraidini Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a Mexican holiday that commemorates the lives of deceased loved ones. It is a tradition that originated from indigenous rituals and eventually blended with Catholic elements as a result of Spanish influence.  The holiday takes place over two days: November 1st and …

21
May

Memorial Day: Honoring Those Who Served

Memorial Day is a federally recognized holiday in the U.S. that honors the valiant men and women who died in service to the United States of America. It is a day on which as a nation, the US stops to recognize those brave men and women who have lost their lives in service to their …

16
May

What is Ramadan

Every year nearly 1.8 billion Muslims around the world partake in a month-long period of fasting during Ramadan. Fasting is one of the Five Pillars of Islam and occurs during the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. It is important to note that not all Muslim countries or communities mark the start of Ramadan …

16
Feb

Year of the Dog

It is that time of year again; Lunar New Year is upon us. 2018 is the Year of the Dog, which is part of the 12-year animal zodiac cycle. For more information, read here. More than one billion people around the world are preparing to celebrate. Although Lunar New Year has its roots in the ancient …

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 …

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 …

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 …

30
Jun

Canada Day: Celebrate with Red, White, and Maple

Here in the United States, where CAI is headquartered, we are gearing up to celebrate the nation’s Independence Day on July 4th.  Fireworks, family and friends, and good food will abound to recognize the time long ago, in 1776, when our nation declared its sovereign independence.  But located just north of us stands our neighbor …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

27
Mar

How Do You Celebrate Birthdays?

When US Americans think of birthday celebrations, images of parties, cake, blowing out candles, and the Happy Birthday song comes to mind. For a baby’s first birthday, some parents will even get the birthday child a smash cake, which the baby with play with, and hopefully eat, smashing it to pieces in the process.  However, …

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