- One of the most important holidays in India, Diwali, or “festival of lights,” is a time to celebrate the victory of good over evil. Following the Hindu calendar, Diwali falls between mid-October and mid-November. Indians decorate their homes, set off firecrackers at night, and exchange sweets between family and friends, including Kesar Burfi (cashew nuts fudge) and Coconut Burfi (coconut fudge).
- On January 6th, most of the Hispanic world celebrates the Three Kings’ Day or Dia de Reyes. It is a religious festivity in homage to the visit from the three kings to the nativity scene. If you are in Mexico on this date, you will be delighted by the Rosca de Reyes. Similar to a crown, the Rosca is baked with a figurine inside representing Baby Jesus. When the family shares this treat, the person who gets the figurine will host a party on February 2nd, the Day of the Candles.
- All over the globe Valentine’s Day is celebrated on February 14th. Japan has a rather unique fashion when it comes to manifesting affection towards loved ones during Valentine’s, as women give chocolate to men. These gifts are divided into three categories: giri choco, chocolate for the women’s superiors at work and male co-workers; honmei choco, chocolate for the woman’s other half; and tomo choco, chocolate for the woman’s female friends.
- Traditionally every year on June 24th in Peru, Inca culture honors the Sun God during the
Inti raymi or the Festival of the Sun. As a spectacle for the eyes and the palate, Peruvians, as well as tourists, attend ceremonies on the streets filled with music, colors and dancing. After fasting for days before the event, celebrants consume a lavish banquet of meat, cornbread, chicha (homemade drink with grains or fruits) and coca tea.
- Famously known as the world’s largest fair, Oktoberfest is a beer festival held in Munich, Germany, from late September to the first weekend in October. Other countries have added this celebration to their calendar, as a way to keep their German heritage alive.To go along with the beer, participants can choose from a variety of food, such as Hendl (chicken), Schweinebraten (roast pork), Schweinshaxe (grilled ham hock), Steckerlfisch (grilled fish on a stick),Würstl (sausages) and more.
- Fat Tuesday or Mardi-Gras is a special holiday observed 40 days after Christmas and one day before Ash Wednesday. for practitioners, it is the last moment to have fun and enjoy culinary pleasures before the commencement of Lent, a period of fasting and prayers. Particularly in France, this date is commemorated with outdoor feasts, accompanied by tasty crepes, waffles and beignets.
- Many countries observe the Day of the Dead or All Saints Day as a special time to remember deceased family members and friends. In Guatemala, large and colorful kites are constructed and flown on November 1st, representing a figurative connection between the living and the dead. Another important aspect of this festival is the fiambre, a special dish made only for this occasion, of cheese, meat and vegetables cured in vinegar.
- Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians held one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the U.S., almost 400 years ago. Americans keep this custom alive annually, every fourthThursday of November. Across the country, families get together to enjoy a savory feast, including numerous dishes, specially turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, gravy and the pumpkin pie.
- Christmas is a time of joy and hope in every Christian society, and each country has its own traditions. For instance, in Italy, throughout the holiday season, people indulge in seasonal delicacies like fritto misto, lightly fried seafood and vegetables; panettone, a sweet egg bread; and torrone, chocolate or almond-flavored nougat.
- New Year’s Eve is an incredible festivity worldwide. In Brazil, one of the main events takes place in Rio de Janeiro, at Copacabana Beach, where people can watch impressive fireworks and music shows. Some Brazilians wear white clothes as a symbol of peace, and eat grapes, figs and pomegranates for a lucky, healthy and prosperous New Year.
References and Further Reading:
Peru Adventure Tours. (2013). Inti Raymi Celebration in Cusco – The Festival of the Sun God. Retrieved January 23, 2013, from https://www.peruadventurestours.com/en/inti_raymi_festival.html
French Moments. (2013). February in France: Candlemas & Carnival. Retrieved January 23, 2013, from http://frenchmoments.com/Chandeleur.html
International Living. (2007). Day of the Dead in a Guatemalan Graveyard. Retrieved January 23, 2013, from http://internationalliving.com/2007/04/10-14-2004/
History. (2013). Thanksgiving. Retrieved January 23, 2013, from http://www.history.com/topics/thanksgiving
Terretrusche. (2013). Christmas in Italy. Retrieved January 23, 2013, from