What are you celebrating?

Like most people, I’m a big fan of public holidays. Growing up in rural Australia meant we celebrated the bog standard Australian Public and Christian holidays, whether it was the Queens birthday, ANZAC day or Easter, I loved the anticipation that came with the lead up to a “long weekend”.

When I became an Expat, the holidays I had grown up with and came to expect, disappeared. It’s a hard pill to swallow when you realize other cultures don’t share the same rituals. ANZAC day in Asia? Forget about the Queens birthday in the USA, and unless you happen to live in a country with a favourable time zone, the Melbourne Cup can come and go before you’ve had a chance to eat your Weetbix.

The good news though, is while traveling you can share your celebrations with new friends and maybe add a few new ones to your calender. When we moved to Malaysia I discovered a country close to my own heart, possibly the most generous of countries when it came to a “day off”. We celebrated EVERYTHING. We had holidays for Deepavali, Eid al Adha and Christmas, and when G and I moved to an area with a large Buddhist community we were able witness Vesak in all it’s beauty. Chinese New Year with colourful human dragons, fireworks and loud crashing symbols was intoxicating to the Little Travelers.

As our expat world expanded so did our list of celebrations, the Little Travelers came home from their American school and taught me all about Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. There were new National days to be learnt and rules to understand. We learnt the pool always opened on Memorial Day and closed on Labor Day.

There are times though when celebrations don’t work in your favour.

We were sitting for a meal with our Ethiopian babysitter Helen when Christmas came up in the discussion. The Little Travelers wanted to know what happened in Ethiopia, was there a tree? Helen explained that Christmas was on January 7th rather than December 25th and that the New Year was a couple of months ago as there are 13 months in the Ethiopian Calender.

“What year is it? ” asked the third Little Traveler, Helen replied that 2003 had just begun, the third Little Traveler pinched his own skin and looked in horror at the rest of the family “I haven’t been born yet! I don’t exist”.

Happy Holidays, wherever you may be.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06764463577971482089 Little J

    Happy Holidays!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09198159357998731098 Louie

    Just gorgeous!
    Enjoy your Chrissy and holiday here in Doha 🙂
    xx

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15999271127735997770 Naturally Carol

    So what are you celebrating this year? Merry Christmas anyway!!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18254275544017629129 bigwords is…

    Bet everyone’s excited in your house. Xmas eve morning here and the two eldest are bursting with excitement! Will try and skype you on Xmas x

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07422068499429667636 Posie Patchwork

    While we haven’t had an OS posting yet, our children go to a school with lots of embassey children here in Canberra so we get to enjoy all their customs too!! Nothing like throwing a sausage sizzle BBQ at school during Ramadan!! Love Posie

  • http://therhythmmethod.wordpress.com/ the rhythm method

    What an amazing experience for your kids. Sometimes I wonder what our kids are missing out on by staying put in our little white bread town. I can’t wait till they are a bit older (and we have some $$$) to take them OS and let them experience the rest of the world.
    Happy holidays!!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13738366255343185057 Cate

    That’s fantastic! What a great life your kids are living!! Although this does mean I lied to my kiddos yesterday when I told them that everyone who celebrated xmas celebrates on Dec 25 (that’s what happens when you answer questions off the top of your head!!)
    Have a great xmas
    xxxCate

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10513517402604501840 Loz

    And a Merry Christmas from me and thanks for following my blog 🙂

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06859635446679188039 The Clip Cafe

    You’ve experienced a lot and grown the more rounded for it I am sure – wish we could travel. Great post :o)