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FUN HOLIDAYS AND CELEBRATIONS AROUND THE WORLD
- 16 January, 2017
- Publicat per: Uptown English
- Categoria: english
First of all we’d like to wish you a Happy New Year 2017 and we thought that after the Christmas break it would be a good idea that our first entry was about celebrations.
In this blog post, we are going to talk about different celebrations that are held around the world throughout the year, starting with one of our main traditions here in Catalonia:
Caga Tió, Catalonia
“Tió de Nadal” Christmas log is a log standing on stick legs with a happy painted face at one end and wearing a red Catalan barretina hat.
It is “fed” fruits or biscuits, pampered and cared for by children starting from the beginning of December and ending on Christmas Eve on 24th December. The Tió has a blanket to keep it warm at night and as Christmas gets closer the parents even replace the Tió de Nadal logs with bigger versions to make the children think that the log has grown after being fed by the children. The children believe that the better they cared for the Caga Tió log and the bigger it becomes, then the bigger the present would be at Christmas.
Then on Christmas Eve, the children sing the “Caga Tió” song to get the log to “poo” some presents. While they are singing the children whip the log with a stick.
The Caga Tió song ends with a final loud cry of “Caga Tió!”, this is a command to the log to “do his business” and give the kids their presents.
After singing and whipping the log, the children pull the blanket out, and the log has pooed presents!
The three wise men, Spain
It is the most popular Spanish Christmas tradition among kids. These Three Kings are the ones who followed a star to meet Baby Jesus and offered him three presents: gold, frankincense and myrrh to the new born child in Bethlem.
In December, all the boys and girls in Spain start to write their letters to the Three Kings or to their favourite King: Melchor, Gaspar or Baltasar. They write about the things they would like to receive on the morning of the 6th of January, (which is the day the presents are delivered) and also about their behaviour during the year. If they have been good, they get presents; if they have been bad, they get a piece of coal.
Melochor, Gaspar and Baltasar travel by camel and because they come from the East, they take a long time to arrive to Spain. Once here, they visit all the cities and villages, and listen to the kids’ requests, after a parade on the afternoon of the 5th. On that night, the kids put out something to eat and drink at their home for the three kings and water for the camels.
On the morning of the 6th, the children find their presents. The food and drink placed in the plates and glasses are gone.
Saint George (Sant Jordi), Catalonia
Sant Jordi, or St George, is the patron saint of Catalonia (and England and about ten other countries and regions). But St George’s Day (23rd April) in Catalonia is very special. It is the region’s version of Valentine’s Day, when romance sweeps the city, and lovers swap books and roses. The whole country fills up with thousands of stands full of colourful roses and books.
Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The Carnival in Rio de Janeiro is a festival held before Lent every year and the biggest carnival in the world with two million people per day on the streets. The first festivals of Rio date back to 1723.
The typical Rio carnival parade is filled with revellers, floats, and adornments from numerous samba schools , which are located in Rio (more than 200 approximately, divided into 5 leagues/ divisions). A samba school is composed of a collaboration of local neighbours that want to attend carnival together, with some kind of regional, geographical common background. The samba dancers prepare all year long: the technique, performance, costumes and decorations – everything has to be perfect and bigger than their competitors’.
Oktoberfest, Munich, Germany
This celebration is known around the globe for being the biggest beer celebration in the world. It is held since 1810, and the festival has become an important part of Bavarian culture. Originally it represented the commemoration of Prince Ludwig’s wedding. Every October about 6 million people visit the Oktoberfest in Germany and more than 6 million litres of beer is served.
Saint Patrick’s Day, Ireland
It is celebrated on the 17th March to commemorate Christianity’s arrival to Ireland. The whole country turns into green (dyed rivers and drinks, Irish flags, green lights in the most important buildings, etc.). People dress in green and watch a big parade. Irish communities in USA, especially Boston, Chicago and other European countries also celebrate it.
Thanksgiving, USA and Canada
Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday celebrated in Canada, in the United States, in some of the Caribbean islands and in Liberia. It was originally celebrated as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year. It is celebrated on the second Monday of October in Canada and on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States. Although Thanksgiving has historical roots in religious and cultural traditions, it has long been celebrated as a secular holiday as well. The centrepiece of contemporary Thanksgiving in the United States and Canada is a large meal, generally centred on a large roasted turkey , which is only enjoyed once per year.
Day of the Dead, Mexico
Celebrated in May every year, Day of the Dead focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. It is particularly celebrated in Mexico, where it attains the quality of a National Holiday.
Independence Day (4th July)
Independence Day of the United States, is a federal holiday commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence 241 years ago in 1776 on July 4 by the Continental Congress. It declared that the thirteen American colonies regarded themselves as a new nation, the United States of America, and were no longer part of the British Empire.
Independence Day is commonly associated with fireworks, parades, barbecues, carnivals, fairs, picnics, concerts, baseball games, family reunions, and political speeches and ceremonies, in addition to various other public and private events celebrating the history, government and traditions of the United States. Independence Day is the National Day of the United States.
Halloween is a celebration observed in a number of countries on October 31. This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the New Year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred.
Over time, Halloween evolved into community-based event characterized by child-friendly activities such as trick-or-treating (Children in costumes travel from house to house asking for treats such as candy with the phrase “Trick or treat”. The “trick” is a threat to perform mischief on the homeowners or their property if no treat is given to them). In a number of countries around the world people gathers and wears scary costumes and give and receive sweets and treats.
Had you heard about all of them? Which one do you think is the most interesting one? Leave your comments, so everyone who reads the Uptown English blog can see them!