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Mother's Day Around The World

Global Immersions - Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Mother's Day has become a global holiday and while it is celebrated on many different days, countries including the United States, Japan, Germany, and Colombia celebrate it on the second Sunday in May, which is May 13th!

While spring festivals celebrated maternal goddesses during ancient Greek and Roman times, Mother's Day did not become an official holiday until May 10th, 1908 in the United States. It was founded by Anna Jarvis who campaigned for the creation of the holiday in remembrance of her recently deceased mother. 

In most Arab countries, Mother's Day is celebrated on March 21st. It was first introduced in Egypt in 1943 by journalist Mustafa Amin. The idea was overlooked at the time, but when Amin heard a story of a widowed mother who devoted her life to raising a son who eventually became a doctor, got married, and showed little affection to his mother, he began to push for its creation. By March 21st 1956, it was officially accepted as a holiday. 

Today, pink and red carnations pay tribute to mothers who are still alive, while white carnations pay tribute to those who have passed. 

How do you show your appreciation to your mothers? Have any suggestions? Let us know!

For those who are visitors, why not let your host mother know how appreciative you are of all she has done for you during your stay in Boston!


Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mother's_Day

http://www.mothersdaycentral.com/about-mothersday/history/

Happy 100th Birthday Fenway Park!

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, April 10, 2012

One hundred years ago, on April 20, 1912, The Boston Red Sox played their first official game in Fenway Park. In honor of that milestone, on April 19, the Red Sox welcome fans to an open house to celebrate Fenway Park’s centennial celebration. There will be historical artifacts, photographs, and banners on display throughout the park, following the "Fenway Park: A Living Museum" path. Visitors will also have a chance to meet Red Sox legends, and visit parts of the ballpark generally inaccessible to fans.


The Fenway Park Open House also includes:

  • An opportunity for fans to explore 100 year old Fenway Park at their own pace

  • Historical markers denote historic home runs, events, and spots within the park

  • A display of the clubhouse that shows fans the mud that's rubbed on the baseballs, pine tar, rosin bag and other items that fans generally don't see during a visit to the park

  • Old programs, tickets, chairs, blueprints and many other items of historic interest from Fenway Park's 100-year old history

  • Autograph signings throughout the day

  • An opportunity to walk the warning track, peek inside the Green Monster scoreboard and visit other spaces within the ballpark not normally available or accessible to fans

The next day, on April 20, the Red Sox will play the New York Yankees, the same team they played for the first official game in 1912, with both teams wearing historic uniforms.

For more information about the Fenway Park Open House, visit their website here.  We hope you enjoy the event!

April Festivities Around the World

Global Immersions - Friday, April 06, 2012

April is the month that marks the beginning of spring in the Northern hemisphere. The etymology of "April" in Latin is aperire, which means "to open": the "opening" of trees and flowers. Boston's magnolia trees have blossomed considerably early this year and has been called one of the earliest blossoming in 140 years of record keeping. 

Many of you may be aware that Easter and Passover are coming up! But what other holidays are going on in April? Let's take a look!

Easter (Resurrection Day)

Easter is a Christian holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Christian's believe that Jesus Christ was resurrected from the death three days after his crucifixion, which is commemorated on Good Friday. It is celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon on or after March 21st. Traditionally, Saturday's are spent decorating Easter eggs and hunting for them with children on the following Sunday. Hot cross buns (spiced buns with a cross on top) are traditionally eaten on Good Friday and are a symbol for the Crucifixion. 


Passover

Passover is a Jewish holiday that is celebrated on the 15th day of the 7th month in the Jewish calender. This year, Passover begins Friday, April 6th and ends on Saturday, April 14th. Passover commemorates the story of Exodus, where ancient Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt. The most important Passover tradition is the seder. During the seder the story of Exodus is retold, four cups of wine are to be had each representing an expression of deliverance, and partaking in eating symbolic foods on a seder plate. 


Golden Week

In Japan, Golden Week is a period consisting of four holidays. It begins on April 29th with Showa Day, which honors the birthday of the late Emperor Hirohito. May 3rd is Constitution Memorial Day, which commemorates the declaration of the 1947 Constitution of Japan. May 4th is celebrated with Greenery day and is set aside for nature appreciation. Commemorative plantings take place across the country. The final holiday is Children's Day, which lands on May 5th. The holiday respects and embraces children's personalities and to celebrate their happiness. On Children's Day, families hang koinobori's (carp streamers), which symbolize the determination and vigor of the carp overcoming obstacles to swim upstream. 


Earth Day

Earth Day is held every year worldwide on April 22nd. The United Nations even designated that day as International Mother Earth Day. This holiday is meant to increase awareness and appreciate our planet's natural environment. It was pioneered by John McConnell in 1969 and has since then gained an immense amount of support. Their are many traditions people around the world take part in to commemorate this holiday. There is planting a tree, picking up trash, recycling, and even hiking!


Do you know of any other holidays that occur in April? If so, please let us know!


Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Easter

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passover

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth_Day

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Week_(Japan)

St. Patrick's Day

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, March 13, 2012

On March 17th every year, people throughout the world honor one of the most widely celebrated saints, Saint Patrick. Known as the patron saint of Ireland, Saint Patrick’s Day represents not only Christian values, but also a secular celebration of Irish culture. St. Patrick’s Day is usually accompanied by shamrocks, Irish flags, Irish food and drink, and a hefty dose of the color green. Though St. Patrick’s Day is an official holiday in only a few places, it is widely celebrated by the Irish diaspora - and others – worldwide.


Ireland

Though St. Patrick’s Day has been a celebrated feast day since the ninth century, it became an official public holiday in 1903. The holiday remains largely religious, and is often associated with religious observance, festivals, and parades.

Argentina

Boasting the fifth largest Irish community in the world outside Ireland, Argentina celebrates Saint Patrick’s Day with street parties all night long. With over 50,000 people taking part in the celebrations, Argentineans dance and drink all night in their green clothes.

Canada

Since 1824, Montreal holds one of the longest-running Saint Patrick’s Day parades in North America. Though Saint Patrick’s Day is a holiday in only the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, many other groups have lobbied to make it an official national holiday in Canada.

Japan

Holding Asia’s largest Saint Patrick’s Day parade, the Tokyo parade, organized by the Irish Network Japan, has been going on since 1992. Today, parades are held in many locations across Japan, and go on throughout the entire month of March.

The United States   

Though Saint Patrick’s Day is not an official holiday in the US, it has been celebrated since the late eighteenth century. The day is largely a celebration of Irish and Irish-American culture, and features many parades, religious events, feasts, and displays of the color green. In Boston,  Saint Patrick's Day remains a huge day of celebration due to the large Irish population. With over 500,000 visitors each year, the Boston parade is not only the oldest St. Patrick's Day parade in the US, but also one of the largest. For more information about Saint Patrick's Day events in Boston, look here

Do you have Saint Patrick’s Day plans? Let us know! 

Sources:

timeanddate.com

boston.com/stpatricksday/

Daylight Saving Time

Global Immersions Recruiting - Friday, March 09, 2012

On Sunday, March 11, 2012, clocks in the United States (and many others throughout the world) are advanced one hour so that evenings have more sunlight in the warmer months of the year. First established in 1918, “Daylight Saving Time” allows for people to take advantage of sunlight later in the day, as well as encourage energy savings. As days become shorter again in fall and winter months, clocks are returned to “standard” time so that there is more sunlight in the mornings.


Although Daylight Saving Time has been around for nearly 100 years in the United States, there is still a good deal of controversy surrounding the practice. Many critics feel that Daylight Savings is not beneficial, or simply too complicated. Worldwide, many countries use Daylight Savings in order to conserve daylight; the days of change, however, often differ from country to country (most of Europe changes on the last Sunday in March, while much of Oceania changes on the first Sunday in April). Other countries, such as large portions of Africa and Asia have opted to stop using Daylight Savings Time, or have simply never used it at all.

In the US, Daylight Savings occurs on the second Sunday of March, and ends on first Sunday of November. Daylight Savings is easily remembered with the mnemonic device, “spring forward, fall back” to help people remember which direction to shift the clocks for each time period.

Sources:

The Patch

Washington Post

Valentine’s Day Around the Globe

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Though some Americans consider Valentine’s Day to be a superficial holiday, there is long history behind the holiday of love. First established in 496 AD by Pope Gelasius I, Valentine’s Day was originally created to honor the early Christian Saint Valentine. Today, Valentine’s Day is a day for people to express their love for each other by presenting flowers, candy, or cards. Scroll down to find out more about how different cultures express their love throughout the world!




Guatemala 

Known as El Día del Cariño, Valentine’s Day in Guatemala is a colorful, affectionate affair. Throughout Latin America, the day is as much about friendship and family as it is about love;   commonly referred to as the day of amor y amistad — love and friendship — Guatemalans exchange flowers, chocolates and cards like in the U.S., but with pals as well as with admirers. And in Guatemala City, the holiday isn’t just for youth.  In the country’s capital, it’s common for locals and tourists to dress up in feathered masks or vivid Mayan attire and partake in Old Love, a senior citizens’ parade. 

China 

China not only has its own New Year, but also celebrates its own Valentine’s Day. Generated from an age-old love story involving a queen’s daughter and a cowboy, the Qixi Festival, Chinese Valentine’s Day, falls on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month, usually in early August. On the Chinese Valentine’s Day, men who want to impress their partners typically book luxury dinners and shower them with roses, while Chinese girls will offer fruit to deities in hopes for a good match. 

Wales

In Wales, the equivalent of St. Valentine is Saint Dwynwen, the patron saint of lovers. It is said that the beautiful saint fell in love with handsome young man, and later begged God to bring him back to life in exchange for a life of service. Now a place of pilgrimage, visitors make the trek to a well where apparently sacred eels can forecast the outcome of relationships. Celebrated January 25, the holiday often involves love spoons as an old tradition of courting and marriage.  A Welsh man would carve a love spoon for his beloved one, and decorate the whittled wood with different symbols: Keys would signify a man’s heart, wheels his hard work and beads, his preferred number of offspring. 

Japan 

In Japan, Valentine’s Day works a little differently; there are not one but two days of romance. On February 14, women typically give chocolate to their boyfriends, male friends and superiors. A month later, men return the favor; on March 14, known as White Day, men give their girlfriends or wives clothes, jewelry and of course, more chocolate. 

Will you be celebrating Valentine’s Day this year? Let us know how!

Source:

Holidays Around The World in November

Global Immersions - Monday, November 07, 2011

Americans associate the month of November with Thanksgiving as it celebrated by all Americans regardless of religion.  What other global holidays are there during November? Let’s take a look!

Thanksgiving Day – United States of America

The modern Thanksgiving holiday traces its roots back to 1621 at Plymouth. In 1621 the Thanksgiving feast was prompted by the colonists’ successful harvest. The Plymouth colony did not have enough food to support half of the colony and so the Wampanoag Native Americans provided seeds and taught the pilgrims to fish. The feast did not become an annual festivity until the late 1660s. The feast was to give thanks for a good harvest and for the hard work done in communities. In the beginning of the 20th century Thanksgiving fell on the final Thursday of November. President Abraham Lincoln, in order to create a sense of unity between the Northern and Southern states, declared that the final Thursday would be reserved for Thanksgiving. However, on December 26th 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt changed the date to the fourth Thursday of November through federal legislation. His reason for doing so was to give the country an economic boost because the last Thursday of November fell too closely to Christmas.

Kinrō Kansha no Hi (Labor Thanksgiving Day) - Japan

On the 23rd of November, Japan celebrates labor and production and giving one another thanks. Labor Thanksgiving Day (Kinrō Kansha no Hi) is the modern day name for Niiname-sai (Harvest Festival) and was held in the imperial court. In the ritual, the Emperor makes the season’s first offering of harvested rice to the gods and then eats the rice himself. The oldest written account of the holiday dates back to 720, which says that a Harvest Festival took place in November 678. The actual origin, however, is said to date back even longer, possibly 2,000 years back when rice was first cultivated. After World War II, Labor Thanksgiving Day was marked as a national holiday to mark the fact that fundamental human and expansion of workers rights were guaranteed.

Eid al-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice) – Observed by Muslims around the world

Eid al-Adha is a religious holiday that lasts for three days and is celebrated all across the world by Muslims commemorating Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his only son, Ishmael, for God as an act of obedience. God spared Ishmael and provided a ram to sacrifice instead. Muslims commemorate this holiday by slaughtering a sheep, camel, or cow. One third of the meat is distributed to the poor, another third is to neighbors and relatives, and the last third to be kept within the family who offered the sacrifice. Eid al-Adha takes place on the 10th and last day of the Hajj (the celebration of holy pilgrimage to Mecca) in the 12 month of the Islamic lunar calendar. In the year 2011, the celebration was on November 6th on Western calendars.

Independencia de Cartagena (Independence of Cartagena) – Colombia

On November 11, 1811, Cartagena became the first province to declare independence from the Spanish Crown. The holiday is officially celebrated on the Monday closest to November 11th, though festivals and street fairs take place for days around the actual holiday. The “November Feasts” consist of parade floats and dancers inspired by African and Caribbean rhythms. Foam, paint, water, and flour are typically thrown during the street festivals at anyone who may look remotely clean. Concurso Nacional de Belleza (National Beauty Contest) is held at the same time as the Independence holiday. This event is more of a commercial event where the coronation of the next Miss Colombia takes place. With these two major events occurring at the same time, one can only imagine how crazy Cartagena can get before and on November 11th!

Do you know of any other holidays that occur in November?  Tell us how you celebrate any of these holidays in your country!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thanksgiving

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eid_al-Adha

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labour_Thanksgiving_Day

http://www.colombia.travel/en/international-tourist/sightseeing-what-to-do/history-and-tradition/fairs-and-festivals/november/independence-of-cartagena-and-national-beauty-pageant

Brazilian Exposure

Global Immersions - Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Brazilian Cultural Center of New England located in Cambridge is dedicated to the promotion, preservation and advancement of Brazilian culture, especially Afro-Brazilian culture and the performing arts.   At the center, you can take part in Capoeira Angola (Capoeira is a Brazilian art form that combines martial arts, sports, and music. Capoeira Angola refers to all styles of Capoeira that is kept close to tradition), Roda or Maculelê, which are both Afro-Brazilian dances, or even Samba nights!   These workshops are a great way to add a little Latin flavor in your life!   For upcoming events and classes, check out their website here.

If you are a “foodie” and want a taste of Brazilian cuisine head to Inman Square in Cambridge.   Local favorites include Muqueca Restaurant, located at 1008 Cambridge Street, known for their authentic Brazilian dishes and Bom Café, a quaint little spot, located at 1093 Cambridge Street.

Tell us about your favorite Brazilian restaurant in the metro area!

Sources:

http://www.muquecarestaurant.com/

http://www.capoeira-angola.com/

Cultural Events - DÜNYA Concert

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, September 21, 2011

In order to provide both our hosts and visitors with additional information about the many cultural events and locations in Boston, the Local Ethnic Resources and Cultural Events guides will highlight some of the more unique and diverse spots around town. From little-known ethnic grocery stores to big-name musical shows, Bostonians and visitors alike can use the guides to enjoy more of what Boston has to offer.

Next weekend, be sure to check out the special CD release concert of DÜNYA's A Story of the City: Constantinople, Istanbul, which is currently on the Grammy ballot. DÜNYA Organization's goal is to present a contemporary view of a wide range of Turkish traditions, alone and in interaction with other world traditions, through performance, publication and other educational activities. The concert will bring together several DÜNYA ensembles to perform upbeat selections from the CD program including Turkish, Greek, Armenian, Sephardic Jewish and Ottoman music.

To find out more about DÜNYA visit their website at: http://www.dunyainc.org/

DÜNYA Special CD Release Concert

Location: First Church in Cambridge, 11 Garden St. Cambridge, MA
Date/Time: Saturday, October 1, 8pm
Price of Admission: General $15, Students/Seniors $10


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