At Global Immersions, we are privileged to have a diverse host network. Some of the countries that our hosts represent are Jamaica, Brazil, Great Britain, United States of America and many more! In addition to our host network, every year we work with visitors coming from different countries such as Japan, China, Italy, Denmark, and Spain. It was a pleasure to meet some of our visitors and hosts at our recent host event, and it was enlightening to interact and learn more about their culture and also the assimilation to the U.S. culture. To celebrate the diversity of our network, this blog will focus on the different holiday traditions in different countries! First of all, a tradition is a specific practice in which unwritten customs and practices are passed from one generation to the next. They help to form a country's heritage and culture.
The first country on our list is Jamaica! Jamaica is a country located in the Caribbean Sea, and they have many different traditions for each major holiday. For example, Christmas in Jamaica includes the standard traditions such as Christmas trees, Santa Claus, decorations, and gifts. However, a major part of holidays in Jamaica is the delicious food! One example of a Christmas tradition in Jamaica is the sorrel drink, a refreshing drink made from dried sorrel, ginger, cinnamon, sugar, orange peels, and rum. The sorrel drink is very famous in most parts of the Caribbean, and it is a longstanding tradition during Christmas. The classic dishes associated with Christmas in Jamaica are curried goat, pork, chicken, and oxtail all served with rice and gungo peas. However, no Christmas in Jamaica would be complete without the special Christmas cake. This cake is special because it consists of raisins, cherries, papaya, dates, prunes, and any other dried fruits which has been either boiling or soaking in wine for at least a month before Christmas. To add extra flavor and keep the moisture, you can always add some rum to the cake! For Easter, the traditional dishes in Jamaica are bun and cheese with eskovitch fish.
Another country where there are a lot of traditions is Spain. Christmas in Spain is a major holiday, and the majority of Spanish people go to Midnight Mass or 'La Misa Del Gallo' (The Mass of the Rooster). It is named after a rooster because it is believed that a rooster crowed the night that Jesus was born. For dinner, the traditional dinner is usually 'Pavo Trufado de Navidad' which is turkey stuffed with truffles, and in other areas the dinner consists of all types of seafood such as shellfish, mollusks, lobster, and crabs. Apart from the Christmas traditions, another special tradition celebrated on New Year's Eve is when you eat 12 grapes with the 12 strokes of the clock at Midnight! Each grape represents one month of the upcoming year, and it is said that if you finish the 12 grapes you will be lucky in the New Year.
Next country on our list is Brazil! In Brazil, New Years is considered to be one of the most widely celebrated holidays, and there are strict customs and traditions that are adhered to. During the New Years time, major parties are organized all over Brazil, and the night is started with a half hour fireworks show where people are celebrating and wishing for everyone's good luck. This is followed by a dinner with traditional dishes such as rice, chicken, farofa, salads, and maracuja mousse which is a passion fruit dessert dish. Lentils and rice are consumed during New Years because it is considered to bring good luck, fortune, and prosperity into one's life. Also, another tradition during New Years is to wear white on the day, as doing so is traditionally believed to bring good luck for the upcoming year. Furthermore, on the midnight of the New Year, Brazilians will all gather at the beach and jump seven times in to the beach and throw flowers while wishing for a prosperous and happy year ahead.
One country that is also dominated by traditions and customs is China. China celebrates a wide array of holidays, and although different parts of China have different traditions, there are some common ones between the whole country. During New Year's Eve, the dinner is the most important dinner for the Chinese all year. This is an opportunity for the whole family to be reunited again, and normally fish and dumplings will be served. In Northern China, dumplings are considered to be the most important dish and it is because they signify prosperity. Other than that, the rest of the dishes are down to personal preference. Furthermore, right after 12:00 pm on New Year's Eve, fireworks will be launched to not only celebrate the coming of the New Year, but to also drive away the evil spirits and bad luck. Another important Chinese tradition during New Years is to hand out little red packets with money in it. The red packets are usually given by adults to little children, as it is believed that the money in the red packet will suppress evil spirits from the children and keep them a long and healthy life. In addition, Chinese people are very superstitious during major holidays. For example, a few days before the Chinese New Year, people will do a complete cleaning of the house which is symbolic of removing the old and welcoming the new. Also, another tradition during Chinese New Year is to keep all your windows open as this is said to let in good luck and get rid of bad luck.
Do you know of any other traditions? Let us know!