Christmas is celebrated on all continents, everywhere a little differently. In our last blog post of the year, we’d like to introduce you to how it’s celebrated in other cultures and how it may influence business life.
Christmas is not a traditional holiday in China, and it’s actually not even a very exceptional day, as the vast majority of Chinese people are Buddhist. However, Christmas is becoming increasingly popular among young people in China’s eastern cities and in the former colonies. The significance that Christmas has in Europe is similar to the significance that the New Year and Spring Festivals have in China. The beginning of the New Year Festival is determined by the lunar calendar and falls sometime between January 21 and February 21.
In Russia, Christmas and Epiphany are celebrated on January 7 in accordance with the Gregorian calendar. This date corresponds to December 25 according to the Julian calendar. “Christmas Eve” is thus on January 6. Santa Claus isn’t a thing in Russia; instead, Ded Moroz [“Grandfather Frost”] and his granddaughter Snegurotschka [“Snow Maiden”] come by in a sleigh.
Indeed, Christmas is not listed on the calendar of Hinduism, the predominant religion in India, but things aren’t seen in such a strict way there. Everything that can be celebrated is celebrated. Today the holiday is characterized as a kind of blend of multiple countries’ traditions. Christmas in India consists of a midnight mass on Christmas Eve, a feast accompanied by singing, dancing and bonfires on Christmas Day and an exchange of presents on December 26.
In the Arab world, on the other hand, Christmas is not celebrated as a holiday. Christmas symbols from the western world are certainly well known there, but they’re more associated with the end of the year. After all, Christmas is a Christian festival, not a Muslim one.
In Japan, Christmas holidays are normal work days. For Japanese people, Christmas is a celebration of love. Yet it’s less about families and more about friends, parties and the opportunity for singles to meet new partners. Japanese cities are festively decorated, and the symbol of Santa Claus can even be seen on advertising posters and TV. Fried chicken is the Christmas meal of choice, and it’s often accompanied by sweet delicacies such as cakes and pies.
Don’t expect the Christmas holidays to line up with the times you’re used to in business life. Furthermore, only send Christmas greetings in consideration of the country’s respective customs. If you’d like, you can greet your foreign business partner with one of the following messages:
Merry Christmas! [English], Feliz Navidad! [Spanish], Pozdrevlyayu s prazdnikom Rozhdestva! [Russian], Shèngdàn jié kuàilè! [Mandarin], Shinnen omedeto! [Japanese], Shubh Naya Baras! [Hindi], I’D Miilad Said! [Arabic], Boas Festas! [Portuguese], Shuvo Baro Din! [Bengali], Joyeux Noël! [French]
At the same time, the team at Eidam & Partner would like to thank all those who read our blog this year. You can expect more exciting blog posts on the topic of cross-cultural training next year as well. With that said, we wish you restful holidays and all the best for the new year of 2020!