An asian business woman speaking on a cellphone in a park setting.

What is the Social Climate in Hong Kong?

If the American dream is based on the pursuit of happiness, the Hong Kong dream is based on the pursuit of success—ambition and hard work are the keystones of life here. Learn more about a society that very much believes in bettering oneself, as well as what to expect when you visit.

A red Torii gate stands out sharply from the snow during the day.

Visiting a Shinto Shrine on New Year’s Eve in Akan

On New Year’s Eve, many people in Japan brave the snow to visit Shinto shrines and pray for good fortune in the coming year. Ruthy Kanagy invites us to experience the tradition through her eyes, from making an offering to warming up with grilled mochi and a cup of hot, sweet sake.

A row of red and yellow umbrellas dot a strip of sand along a palm-tree lined beach.

Réveillon in Imbassaí

In Brazil, it’s customary on New Year’s to get decked out in immaculate white and offer flowers to Iemanjá, Queen of the Seas. Resident Michael Sommers shares a fun, humor-filled experience of the end-of-the-year holiday.

Political satire is a popular theme for the monigotes and años viejos. Photo © Amy E. Robertson.

New Year’s Eve in Ecuador: Embracing Local Culture

Instead of singing “Auld Lang Syne” when midnight strikes in Ecuador, residents set dummies on fire. Read on to learn more about the country’s biggest tradition on New Year’s Eve as Amy E. Robertson shares her experience of the holiday in Quito.

Stuffed animals line booths at at temple fair in Chaoyang Park.

Chun Jie: Spring Festival in Beijing

Chun Jie celebrates the beginning of the new Chinese year. Like most Chinese holidays, its exact date varies slightly from year to year, depending on the Chinese calendar. Author Shannon Aitken discusses the holiday’s traditions and why this may (or may not) be a great time to visit Beijing.