What Holiday Spirit Looks Like Across The Hemisphere

Love may be considered the international language but holidays transcend cultures around the world.

Although holidays may vary from country to country, celebration of the human spirit is universal. Holidays can be spiritually or historically based, commemorating a special occasion or welcoming in the New Year. Regardless of the reason, who doesn’t enjoy a festive time? 

This week Americans will celebrate Thanksgiving to honor the Pilgrims and the sacrifices they made to settle in a new country. Festivities include special dinners and watching football. This year is particularly special as Thanksgiving ends and Chanukah begins, which is unusual. Just a few weeks later it will be time for Christmas and New Year celebrations.

While many countries celebrate the New Year on 1 January, Asian cultures will enjoy the Chinese New Year on 31 January in 2014. Preparing for the New Year begins with cleaning house to sweep away any bad luck that may have accumulated over the year. Preparing the traditional dinner of Chinese dumplings is fun for whoever finds the coin hidden in their dumpling that will bring good luck in the coming year. Painting door and window frames red and putting decorations in the window creates a festive environment. Will The Year of The Horse bring health, happiness and wealth for you in 2014? 

Japan’s Golden Week begins on 29 April and ends on 5 May and is a combination of four holidays in one week. Many families use the special time to travel and enjoy some leisure time. 29 April is Shôwa Day to honor Shôwa Emperor Hirohito, 3 May is Constitution 

Day, 4 May is Greenery Day and 5 May is Children’s Day. Shôwa Day, Constitution Day and Greenery Day are to honor and celebrate history and culture. Flying carp-shaped kites on Children’s Day is fun for everyone at any age. 

Carnival in Rio de Janeiro 28 February rivals Mardi Gras 4 March in New Orleans for parades and literally dancing in the streets. Fireworks, costumes and parties fill days and nights with enjoyment. People travel to join in the fun and spirit of these occasions. 
Whatever the hemisphere, holidays are important times for to celebrate the human spirit with family and friends.