The winter season is full of festivities, religious traditions and others just part of modern-day living. Over the years, these traditions have changed quite a lot, especially with the rise of commercialisation. So, here are three of the most celebrated holidays in English-speaking countries.
The autumn/ winter event of Thanksgiving is one that typically only takes place in the United States of America and in some provinces of Canada. These two, largely English-speaking countries celebrate the holiday in different ways.
For example, while the American holiday celebrates the holiday attributed to the ‘First Thanksgiving’ as a celebration of the harvest between the Pilgrims and Indigenous people, Canadian celebrations date back to the safe travels of Sir Martin Frobisher who landed in Newfoundland while trying to find the North-West passage from Europe to Asia.
Since the holiday has moved away from religious meaning, there has been a lot of controversy surrounding Columbus Day and Indigenous People’s day. Therefore, many people celebrate these days with family and friends and a large meal of turkey, mashed potato, stuffing, roasted vegetables, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie.
In these two countries, the holiday is often celebrated at the end of the autumn and to welcome in the winter season.
This brings us to the next major holiday…
Christmas is celebrated in over 160 countries worldwide. Their traditions, however, vary quite a lot.
For instance, western countries (e.g. United Kingdom, Canada, United States, Australia and those within the EU) tend to celebrate Christmas under the religious beliefs of Jesus Christ’s birth on the 25th of December. In recent years, however, the commercialisation of the holiday has created newer traditions of red, green and gold tinsel on pine trees, Santa Clause, the exchange of presents and a large feast with turkey, stuffing and roast vegetables… much like thanksgiving.
In some non-English speaking countries, the holiday is not recognised. These countries tend to have their own traditions, such as the eight days of Hanukkah, Bodhi Day and Winter Solstice. Most of these traditions are related to their religion or culture.
So, if you visit an English-speaking country, expect to hear a cheerful “happy holiday” or “Merry Christmas”!
3. New Year’s Eve/ Day
Finally, and only a few short days after Christmas, the celebrations of the New Year take place. This marks the end of the Gregorian Calendar (December 31st) and the beginning of the next (January 1st) and is celebrated with many colours, especially gold.
The celebrations are typically started on the eve before and last through midnight and to the next morning. You can expect fireworks, sparklers and groovy glasses and hats.
Other non-English speaking countries celebrate New Year at different times. For instance, the Lunar New Year (late-January to mid-February), the South and Southeast Asian Traditional New Year (April 12th-14th) and Samhain (31st October to 1st November).
The winter is filled with so many traditional festivities. Whether you wish to participate or not, they can be fun for everyone! So get involved and spend time with your loved ones!
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