“Everyone’s Irish on March 17th!” says a large sign at
A Shamrock has become the symbol of St. Patrick's Day
Dublin’s Guinness museum.
March 17th is, of course, St. Patrick’s Day, a day to honor the death of one of the world’s most popular saints.
St. Patrick was born in Roman Britain, and he has been accredited for bringing Christianity to Ireland. Not much is known of St. Patrick’s life but one of the most famous legends says that he used the Shamrock, a three-leaved plant, to teach the Holy Trinity to the pre-Christian Irish people.
Although the religious origins of the day are widely known, nowadays St. Patrick’s Day is also celebrated as a kind of Irish national day…
Read more.. »
Today is Universal Children’s Day, a day to remind people across the globe of the rights and welfare of children.
Children's Day highlights the importance of welfare.
The day was first established in 1954 by the General Assembly of the UN as a response to child labour. The day highlights the inhumane aspects of child labour: the long hours, dangerous work conditions, and denial of education.
In most countries, the situation of child labourers has improved drastically since 1954, but there are still over 215 million child labourers around the world today. The UN is worried about the current trends because it seems that the number of child labourers is on the rise in poorer countries. The UN has therefore declared to eliminate child labour by 2020. This declaration fits into the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which all have a target date in 2015. Although the MDGs are for all human kind, they are primarily about children.
“We were all children once,” is the message from the secretary general on Universal Children’s Day. “We all share the desire for the well-being of our children, which has always been and will continue to be the most universally cherished aspiration of humankind.”
Happy Universal Children’s Day everyone!
World Day Against Child Labour – June 12th
11th Hour, of the 11th Day , of the 11th Month.
Armistice & Veterans Day is commemorated, especially in Europe and North America, in rememberance of the ending of the First World War. 11am on November 11th was the date chosen to end formal hostilities. The day is now used to remember all those who have lost their lives during war times. Although not a public holiday in Europe, a one-minute silence is observed at 11am. The nearest Sunday to the 11th traditionally is Remembrance Sunday when town officials place wreaths of poppies on their town’s memorials.
In Poland, 11th November is a national holiday and, besides Remembrance Day, it celebrates Polish Independence Day. In the USA, if Veterans’ Day happens to fall on a Sunday, then the following Monday is declared a public holiday. This is considered to be one of the most important holidays in America. Comemorated in Italy on 4th November.
Read more.. »
Halloween Day is celebrated as a festival around the world.
Especially celebrated by the younger generation, this festival of All Hallowes comes about as a practice followed among the Christian population and has its origins as a Pagan Celtic festival – Samhain. It’s celebrated the night before the Christian Festival of All Saints Day. Adults create laterns for their children made from large pumkins which have been made into ghoulish faces. Children play ‘trick or treat’.
However, in the Nordic countries this is the evening when friends and relatives who have died are remembered. People often go to the cemetary and place lit candles in the snow. The sight of hundreds of candles burning in the dark, illuminated by the white snow is quite a sight.
Find out more about Halloween
Find out more about All Saints Day
In 2008, for the first time in history, more than half of the world’s population was living in cities.
Today more than 50% of the world's inhabitants live in cities.
Today is World Habitat Day, and this year’s theme is Changing Cities, Building Opportunities.
World Habitat Day was first observed in 1986. The purpose of this day is to highlight the role of shelter as a basic human right, and reflect on the state of our cities and towns around the world. This year’s urban theme was chosen because cities are engines of growth, and across the globe more and more people are moving into cities in the hope of a better future. According to research done by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology cities make up only 2% of the world’s surface, but they house more than 50% of the world’s population, consume 70% of the world’s energy, and are responsible for the 80% of the world’s carbon footprint. Research from Yale predicts that by 2030 10% of the world’s surface could be urban, most of this expansion happening in Asia…
Read more.. »
Global Competitiveness Report is an annual report published by the World Economic Forum that assesses the competitiveness landscape of 144 major and emerging world economies.
Switzerland tops the overall ranking fourth year in a row.
The report was first published in 1979. Today it is the most comprehensive method of assessing national competitiveness worldwide.
Xavier Sala-i-Martin, Professor of Economics, Columbia University, says that the Global Competitiveness Report provides a window for long-term trends, and allows countries to see the key areas where they must act if they want to better the productivity that will “determine their economic future.”
The report measures a set of institutions, policies, and factors that set the current and medium-term levels of economic prosperity in each country. The World Economic Forum brings these measures together and analyses each country’s ability to provide levels of prosperity to its citizens. Levels of prosperity also depend on how effectively a country uses its available resources.
Read more.. »
The Christian celebration, Lent, begins today. Lent is forty days of reflection and preparation before Easter. It begins with Ash Wednesday.
Ash Wednesday is a day to clean one’s soul before Lent. Lent is traditionally a season to fast from food and festivities, and to reflect upon the events that led to Jesus’ crucifixion. Therefore, on Ash Wednesday, some Roman Catholic and Anglican churches have special services where worshippers are marked with ashes as a symbol of the sorrow of sin. Ash symbolises the fact that death comes to everyone, and that everyone should feel sad for their sins. In addition, ash symbolises the total finality of how, in the bible, God creates Adam from dust and how Adam returns to dust after his death. Hence, the saying, “ashes to ashes, dust to dust.”
During Lent the colour purple is very important. Purple symbolises both the morning of Jesus’ crucifixion and the royalty and sovereignty of his resurrection.
Lent is an old English word that means ‘to lengthen.’ Lent got this name for being a time of spring when days lengthen.
After Lent follows Easter, which is one of the most important and most celebrated Christian festivals.
Other celebrations in February:
Independence Days in February
St. Valentine’s Day
Red Hand Day
National Foundation Day: Japan
For us in the West, Valentine’s Day is the day that celebrates love.
St. Valentine has become the patron saint of lovers and on this day we traditionally exchange messages of love, send poems and simple gifts such as chocolates and flowers to our beloved. Traditionally, these are sent anonomously – ‘From Your Valentine’ – which is thought to have come from the farewell note sent from St. Valentine to his gaoler’s daughter just before he was put to death. In the United States, Miss Esther Howland is given credit for sending the first valentine cards. Commercial valentines were introduced in the 1800′s and now the date is very commercialised. The colour Red, Roses and Hearts are the symbols tradtionally associated with this day. Read below for the full history of St. Valentine’s Day.
Read more.. »
Read the views on the USA of a 25 year-old girl from Taiwan, whose
first experience of ‘abroad’ was as a student in Michigan. A lot of cross-cultural differences between those two cultures! Mindy (Min-Yi Chang) is now back home and reflects on her time in the US. Here are the two extracts I found the most interesting – from the blog post on Pocket Cultures which is always an enjoyable and insightful read.
Read more.. »
I always try to be diligent in explaining that cross-cultural
communication skills apply not just across national cultures but equally between organisations and industries – even departments within the same organisation – think here of the stereotypical mismatch between Sales and the Accounts Department! A fellow professional speaker, Dr Gene Griessman, recently told of his experience of how you can quickly show that you are not an insider if you misuse of mispronounce the jargon or vocabulary people are used to. His story begins: “If it looks like a truck…
Read more.. »