The end of the year usually symbolizes a time of coming together and sharing moments of happiness. Populations around the world have various celebratory traditions at the end of the year filled with gift giving and eating meals together. Christmas is widely celebrated at the end of the year throughout the world, but it is not the only festival bringing people together joyfully around this time. CSOFT is a proudly diverse company with linguists and offices spread far and wide, each with their own unique annual joyous traditions.
With pagan and Christian roots, Christmas day is predominantly celebrated around the world religiously or culturally. Many people deck their houses brightly with festive decorations and put–up Christmas trees (sometimes real ones!) to place presents under in anticipation for December 25.
Numerous countries also celebrate Christmas Eve on January 6, also known as the Epiphany, Feast of the Epiphany, Theophany, or Three Kings’ Day. On this day, people enjoy special pastries, children receive gifts, and in some regions, parades are held.
Hanukkah is also celebrated throughout the world during December. Also known as the Festival of Lights, Hanukkah is an eight-day Jewish festival that revolves around lighting the menorah each night. The festival begins on Kislev 25 (according to the Gregorian calendar) and commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple of Jerusalem by lighting the candles each day. In Israel, Hanukkah is a national holiday.
Primarily observed in the United States, Kwanzaa is an annual holiday from December 26 to January 1 that commemorates African family and social values. Kwanzaa is also often celebrated throughout the Caribbean and other countries with large Africa diasporas. Each day of the festival is dedicated to the seven principles of Kwanzaa: unity, self-determination, collective responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith. Additionally, fruits and vegetables, a straw mat, candleholders, corn, or maize, presents, a cup symbolizing unity, and seven candles in red, green, and black colors are motifs used to symbolize the seven principles.
In China, Christmas is not traditionally celebrated, with larger celebrations taking place during Chinese New Year. However, Christmas has grown in popularity in recent years. Shopping malls will often have Christmas displays to join in the festive fun. Uniquely during this time in China, people will gift each other ‘Christmas Apples’. This localized tradition is founded in the Mandarin language as, ‘Christmas Eve’ in Mandarin translates to ping’anye (平安夜, the evening of peace), which sounds similar to the Chinese word for ‘apple’ or pingguo (苹果). Usually wrapped in boxes or colorful paper and decorated with cartoons, ribbons, or even Christmas messages, giving peace apples is a caring gesture on this day of the year.
New Year’s is a holiday that unites us all and is universally celebrated around the world, regardless of culture or background. Typically, millions gather to countdown the end of the year, enjoy firework displays and meals together surrounded by close friends and family. While New Year’s celebrations will be different this year, people around the world are still preparing to welcome in 2021 with hopes of a brighter future. In many countries around the world, New Year’s celebrations are sometimes larger than Christmas celebrations. In Turkey for example, Christmas is not largely celebrated. Instead, New Year’s is a huge celebration that draws families together to share meals and drink a traditional beverage called Raki. On New Year’s, Turks will sprinkle salt on their doorsteps and throw pomegranates on the ground to bring in some good luck for the New Year.
As cultures everywhere celebrate the end of 2020, here at CSOFT, we wish you all a safe and Happy New Year! We hope 2021 brings hope and new opportunities for all.