By Felicia Bratu
Every day there is a holiday somewhere around the world. Some of them are small events celebrated by small communities. Others are big festivals celebrated with splendor by millions of people. Your friends, co-workers, or business partners might celebrate some of these events and knowing a little bit about them might help you prevent an embarrassing situation. Just think how you would feel if one of your foreign business partners scheduled a meeting with you on New Year’s Eve? Or if you were asked to work on Sundays? Most Muslim people don’t work on Fridays, and Christmas, Easter, and the New Year aren’t celebrated on the same day everywhere. Thanksgiving doesn’t even exist for cultures other than North American ones.
1. I’m sure that everyone has heard by now that last week was the Chinese New Year. Many of our Chinese translators are still on vacation to celebrate the 2-week long Spring Festival.
Chinese New Year, or the Spring Festival starts on the first day of the first month in the Chinese calendar, and it ends 15 days later with a lantern parade – the Lantern festival.
On New Year’s Eve, family members will gather together for a very sumptuous reunion dinner. Small gifts, usually fruits and candies, are exchanged between friends and relatives. Children will usually get money in red envelopes. Red is also the color many Chinese people wear throughout the Chinese New Year.
Chinese New Year falls on different dates each year, between January 21st and February 20th. In 2010, the Chinese New year will fall on February 14th.
2. International Women’s day – is celebrated every year on March 8th in many countries around the world. It started in Russia as a political celebration of women’s achievements, but in time it became a world event. Similar to Valentine’s Day, it’s the day when men give flowers and candies to their female partners, wives, co-workers. So, make sure you mark this day on your calendar if your business partner is a woman and she lives in Armenia, Italy, Portugal, Romania, Russia, China, etc… This is a good time to send flowers. I’m sure your gesture won’t pass unnoticed.
3. St. Patrick’s Day – celebrated on March 17th, is the national holiday of Ireland. The Irish have observed this day as a religious holiday for thousands of years . However, today, people from different cultures and countries celebrate this day by wearing green, eating Irish food, and attending parades. The color green and the shamrock are the symbols worn by people for this occasion. It is said that St. Patrick used the shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity to the pre-Christian Irish.
4. Nowruz – Iranian New Year – is celebrated on March 20th or 21st, the day of the spring equinox. Nowruz is celebrated in Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan, and a few other countries. Many people prepare for this celebration by cleaning their houses and buying new clothes. During the Norwuz 12-day holiday, people will first visit their families and then their friends. Together with traditional dishes, everyone will serve cookies, fruits and nuts.
5. Victory day – is celebrated on May 8th in all of Europe (or May 9th in former Eastern European countries). This day marks the end of World War II and the capitulation of Germany.
6. Rosh Hashanah – Jewish New Year – is celebrated on the first day of Tishrei, the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar . It is the day for asking forgiveness, or giving forgiveness and praying for a healthy and happy year to come. People will eat honey, fish, and new fruits on Rosh Hashanah.
In 2009, Rosh Hashanah will be celebrated on September 18th.
7. Diwali – is a Hindu holiday celebrated for 5 days between October 13th and November 14th. Also named the festival of lights, Diwali marks the victory of good over evil.
In 2009, Diwali will start on October 17th.
8. Ramadan – is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar – Muslims will not eat or drink from dawn until sunset. Also, in many countries, working hours are reduced during Ramadan to allow more time for prayer. Ramadan is also a festival of giving and sharing, so Muslims will prepare special food, and also buy gifts for their family and friends.
Ramadan in 2009 will start on August 21st and will continue for 30 days until September 19th.
9. Hanukkah, or Festival of Lights, is an 8-day Jewish holiday, and commemorates a post-biblical military and religious victory. A nine-branched candelabrum, the Menorah, is lit every day, one on the first night of Hanukkah, two on the second night, and so on.
In 2009, Hanukkah will start on December 11th and will continue until December 19th.
10. Orthodox Christmas – Not everybody celebrates Christmas on December 25th. If you have Russian co-workers, employees, or you want to do business with Russia, you should consider that Russians, and also Georgians, Serbians and others, celebrate Christmas on the 7th of January (which corresponds to December 25th in the Julian calendar).