Pay attention to cultural and religious diversity
Have you ever received an email saying “Happy Holidays” even though you will not actually be celebrating anything? People love to share their happiness with others and sometimes they do not remember that the recipient might not be in the same situation. This is very common in multinational societies, like in Canada, where there are so many different nationalities living and working together.
Lots of companies update their websites when a big celebration approaches to make the site more appealing to visitors. For Christmas and Easter, there are images of Santa Claus and Easter bunnies everywhere… and in their enthusiasm, some forget that not all cultures celebrate these events or that some events are celebrated at different times for certain cultures. Some companies even update their foreign language websites…
It is nice to get an email wishing you all the best for Easter even if you do not celebrate it, but it is very strange to go to a website in your native language and see Easter bunnies everywhere if you do not celebrate Easter.
Why two different Easters?
Easter is a Christian celebration, but not all Christians celebrate Easter at the same time. This year, the Catholic Easter was in March and the Orthodox Easter will be at the end of April. Why this difference? Because of the different calendars used by the churches to calculate the Easter dates.
Orthodox Churches use the Julian calendar named after Julius Caesar. This is usually referred to as the “Old Style” calendar and it was the official calendar from 45 B.C. to 1582 A.D, when it was replaced with the Gregorian calendar. The Gregorian calendar is the official calendar used around the world today.
The Julian calendar was accurate, but it was still not as precise as the Gregorian one. A year was considered to have 365 days and 6 hours instead of 365 days, 5 hours and 46 seconds. This difference may seem insignificant, but because of this difference, one day is lost every 128 years. In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII of the Roman Catholic Church revised the Julian calendar, and so the Easter dates were changed. In time, the Gregorian calendar was adopted all over the world.
Countries with a large Orthodox population are mostly located in Eastern Europe: Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Ukraine, etc.
A few other holidays that are celebrated around the World
Everyday around the world, someone is celebrating something. Here are only a few of these holidays and their dates in 2008:
- New Year’s Day: January 1st – This is the first day of the year in the Gregorian calendar and it’s celebrated in most countries around the World.
- Eastern Orthodox New Year: January 14 – Most of the Orthodox churches have adopted the Gregorian calendar and celebrate the New Year on January 1st. However, for Orthodox churches of Georgia, Jerusalem, Russia, Macedonia and Serbia, the New Year falls on January 14.
- Chinese New Year: In 2008, the Chinese New Year was on February 7. Next year, the Chinese New Year will be on January 26.
- Vietnamese New Year (Tết Nguyên Đán): Celebrated on the same day as the Chinese New Year.
- Iranian New Year (Norouz): March 20 in 2008 – The traditional Iranian New Year holiday marks the first day of spring.
- Songkran – Thai New Year which is celebrated around April 13.
- Orthodox Easter: April 27, 2008 – Celebrated by all Orthodox churches around the World.
- Ramadam: September 1 to September 30, 2008 – A Muslim religious observance that takes place during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar.
- Rosh Hashanah – commonly referred to as the Jewish New Year: In 2008, this celebration begins at sundown on Monday, September 29 and ends at nightfall on Wednesday October 1.
- Yom Kippur – Day of Atonement: Celebrated ten days after Rosh Hashanah.
- Christmas: December 25 – The holiday that celebrates the birth of Jesus. It is celebrated in most Christian countries.
- Orthodox Christmas: January 7 – Only Russian, Serbian, Macedonian and Georgian Orthodox churches celebrate Christmas in January