HOLIDAYS AROUND THE WORLD: LEARN HOW HOLIDAYS ARE CELEBRATED DIFFERENTLY INTERNATIONALLY
There is no better time than the holidaysto trade in hectic schedules and chilly temperatures at homefor relaxation in warmer climates. If you plan to vacation this season, it is important to remember that all countriesobserve Christmas and New Year’sdifferently, and gaining an understanding of how respective culturescelebratewill help you enjoy your well-deserved travels to the fullest.
If you are taking a leisure break in Mexico over Christmas and/or New Year’s, you’re not alone: December is the busiest month of the year to visit, welcoming millions of tourists annually. From Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas and beyond, the sandy beaches combined with lively, colourful holiday celebrations are hard to resist, causing flight prices to skyrocket and accommodation to book up well in advance. But it’s not just international visitors that crowd Mexico during the holidays – locals alike take Christmas very seriously and often travel cross-country to celebrate with their loved ones, meaning reserving car rentals and bus tickets ahead is crucial. In Mexico, Christmas is not just a single daybut an entire season of exciting celebrations that span from December 3 through February 2 (with December 12 and 25 being national holidays). Perhaps the most well known is Las Posadas – eight days of festivities in which children perform biblical processions that culminate on Christmas Eve with jovialfamily fiestas and traditional cuisine.
Thailand – home to some of the world’s best street food, ancient temples and serene islands – has a population that contains only a small minority of Christians. As a result, Christmas is not an official holiday, and local families tend not to celebrate with trees, decorations or gifts. However, as 90% of the nation is Buddhist and thereby incredibly tolerant of all other religions,Westernvisitors will be delighted to discover that hotel staff often wear Christmas hats, carols can be heard playing on the radioand shopping malls get decked out with elaborate light displays and Boxing Day sales.If you look hard enough, you can even find traditional British and American-style Christmas dinners being served at restaurants in larger cities like Bangkok and Chiang Mai. Following Christmas, New Year’s Eve is relished across the country, offering touristsendless options for ringing in the New Year that range from swanky rooftop Champagne soirées to sunset beach parties.
Vietnam is officially an atheistic country, so Christmas is not formally observed. In fact, for most Vietnamese, December 25 is just like any other day. Luckily, Christmas takes place in the midst of the Southeast Asian nation’s peak tourism season, meaning there’s no shortage of activities for holiday-goersto enjoy – all in in pleasant, sunny temperatures. For those Vietnamese who do partake in celebrating the holidays, December 24 is typically more significant than December 25, particularly in bustling metropolises. Ho Chi Minh city (also known as Saigon, the largest city in Vietnam) blocks cars off the streets during Christmas Eve, with young and old flocking to the Catholic Cathedral for Midnight Mass services and festive music. As Vietnam was once a part of the French Empire, visitors will stillnotice some subtle French influences in the Christmas traditions.
Peruvians are enthusiastic participants in Christmas and consider it to be one of the most important periods of the year. The South American nation’s holiday customs are similar to those in Europe and North America, while also incorporating unique traditions that reflect a proud identity and history.UnlikeNorth Americans who tend to celebrate Christmas on December 25, Peru, along with other South American countries like Bolivia and Venezuela, associate deep meaning withNoche Buena or Christmas Eve.After attending mass at church, some families begin their cena de Navidad (Christmas dinner) at midnight, while others initially let kids open gifts from Santa. Much like many other parts of the world, food plays a critical part in holiday celebrations, with traditional dishes ranging from roast turkey to suckling pig.
Best holiday wishes from the TravelSafe team! If you are planninga December getaway, be sure to book a consultation at one of our conveniently located clinics to protect your health ahead of your trip.
Article by – Christina Pears