December – in the north of Europe this means Christmas trees, mulled wine, lots of snow and if you are lucky you may spot the odd reindeer. In our show today I asked how my guests celebrate Christmas in Australia, England, Germany, Singapore and Eritrea but also how people formulate their New Year’s resolutions in different cultures.
Christmas celebrations differ around the globe but typically involve gatherings of family and friends and indulging in rich and glorious food and drink. When talking about Christmas, everyone seems to have their own ideal view of what “Christmas” should be all about, which, however, varies greatly from country to country. For me, as a child, Christmas meant spending the holy evening with my family, singing traditional, often gloomy German Christmas songs, remembering previous Christmases and excitedly anticipating the moment where I get to un-wrap my gifts. For the last 25 years, I have been abroad in different countries for that period of year, experiencing different intercultural traditions. I have been fortunate enough to meet people from all around the world and hear about how they spend their festive night.
Last week I had the pleasure of speaking with Laura from Australia, Anna from England, Rashimah from Singapore and Yonatan from Eritrea and hear about their Christmas traditions. First up I asked Yonatan whether or not everyone celebrates Christmas in his African home country.
It’s not just Christmas, New Year’s is also just around the corner. Typically, at this time of year, it means formulating a New Year’s resolution to leave our bad habits behind. Generally this means setting some unrealistic ambitions, such as for a chain-smoker to quit smoking or for me to lose 5 kilos of weight. Of course resolutions differ from country to country and from culture to culture. I asked Beatrice from Germany if she has any new year’s resolutions for the coming year.
We already heard about various Christmas traditions from different cultural backgrounds and now we go further in depth and hear about what preparations are involved for the joyful meals. I ask Rashimah if eating at a restaurant would be on the cards for her Christmas night in Singapore or is Christmas celebrated strictly at the family house.
For over 25 years my wife and I have been away from German Christmas and traveled to warmer climates; however, wherever you go the festive season seems to catch up with us in some way. Myself and everyone from the absolutely intercultural team wish you a very merry Christmas and as we would say in Germany “Einen guten Rutsch in’s neue Jahr”, meaning “A joyful slide into the New Year”.
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The host of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann
Editors: Younes Jaber & Laura McGuire