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.
In many places around the world, December is a month filled with holiday celebration. In Cambodia, a predominantly Buddhist nation, the New Year is celebrated in April (right in the middle of the hot season) and is the most important spiritual and social event of the year. Author Tom Vater discusses how the holiday is celebrated.
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.
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.
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.
Mexico’s Christmas season is full of tradition and pageantry—though very few conifers. Julie Doherty Meade describes the various ways of celebrating, and she shares the story of her own first Christmas in Mexico.
There’s a good reason that many Cubans have never seen Santa, and it’s not because he couldn’t get a visa—nor that it’s never been known to snow in Cuba. To Cuba’s young, bearded revolutionaries, Christmas was both religious and capitalist at the same time, so the holiday was officially banned. Christopher P. Baker discusses the recent history of Christmas in Cuba and shares his own holiday experiences.
Christmas is not the most feted day of the year for most people in Delhi, but it definitely does not go by unnoticed. Author Margot Bigg discusses holiday celebrations in India.
Hong Kong has long been a stronghold of Chinese culture and its traditional festivals are celebrated with energy, color, and lots of noise. Resident and author Rory Boland gives an overview of Hong Kong’s festivals, from Chinese New Year to the Hungry Ghost Festival.