International Traditions

Love is in the Air: Valentine’s Day Traditions from Around the World

February 14—Valentine’s Day—is celebrated by couples, lovers and friends around the world, not just in the United States. It’s certainly a global experience.
The origin of Valentine’s Day remains unclear. One of the most popular legends, as best Image of a box of Valentine chocolatesdescribed by the International TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) Academy, involves the Roman priest Valentine (or Valentinus) who lived during the third century: “When Emperor Claudius II decided single men made better soldiers than those with families, he outlawed marriage. Valentine continued to perform marriages in secret, causing Claudius to order he be put to death…. It is also told that Valentine sent the first Valentine’s Day greeting. Yet another legend says Valentine fell in love while imprisoned, perhaps with the jailor’s daughter who visited him. Before his death, he is said to have written her a letter and signed it “From your Valentine.”

Understanding Russian Cultures and Customs

Image of Moscow Red Square
Red Square – St. Basile

The Russian Federation has a thousand years of history. Its growth and expansion over the centuries has resulted in a country rich in diversity—in culture, customs, language, religion, politics, art and more.
As we highlighted in our last blog, Russia’s vast expanse across two continents—Europe and Asia—makes it uniquely attractive to business seekers and leisure travelers. In fact, its footing at the crossroads of diverse cultures and people gives it a combination of western and Asian influences that naturally make it a prominent player on the world stage.
As part of our ongoing blog series, this week we’re taking a closer look at Russian cultures and customs and what you should know if you plan future travels there.

Denmark – Culture and Customs of a Small but Mighty Country

Although a small country of roughly 5.7 million people, Denmark is one of the leadingMap of Denmark economic markets in Europe. In fact, Forbes routinely taps the Scandinavian country to top its list of best countries to do business. So if you’re looking to expand your international marketing efforts, don’t overlook the Danes as a rich opportunity for new business ventures. Its temperate climate and central location just north of Germany, between the North and Baltic Seas, also makes it a popular destination for tourists and recreation enthusiasts.
As part of our recurring series of blogs highlighting cultures and countries around the world, we’ve collected some key facts and figures highlighting Denmark’s popular appeal.

10 Things to Know About Oktoberfest

Autumn is a busy time for special events and festivals around the world. The mild temperatures that accompany the changing seasons make tourist or business travel Oktoberfest Hippodrom Tentespecially enjoyable.
In honor of one of autumn’s most popular worldwide attractions—the Munich Oktoberfest—we gathered some interesting facts you may not know about this 200-year-old tradition.

  • Oktoberfest is known as the largest Volksfest (People’s Fair) in the world. More than six million people attend the festivities each year, which begins on the third weekend of September and runs through the first Sunday in October.

India Culture is in the “Hearts and Soul” of its People

Mahatma Gandhi wasn’t just talking about his own homeland of India when he said, “A nation’s culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of its people.” He captured the essence of how countries and societies are ultimately perceived around the world.India Culture Image
As for Gandhi’s own country, Indian culture is among the world’s oldest, dating back more than 4,500 years. Second only to China as the most populous country on earth with more than 1.2 billion people, India boasts diverse customs, languages and religions.
In our latest look at world cultures, we summarize some of the widely diverse traditions and customs that make India such a captivating country and alluring destination for travelers.

Rainbow Nation: Learning the Culture and Customs of South Africa

Desmond Tutu, the renowned social activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner, called SouthMap of South Africa Africa the “Rainbow Nation” to describe its ethnic diversity. In fact, the republic located at the southern-most tip of Africa is considered one of the most multi-cultural countries in the world. Its history of colonialism and immigration has created a nation whose ethnic makeup includes indigenous black peoples, white Europeans, Indians, Indo-Malays and Chinese, among others. It is a popular destination for anyone pursuing business or leisure interests. If you fall into either of those groups, here’s a brief overview of the country’s customs and culture that will help in planning your visit.

Understanding German Customs and Culture Helps Create a Rewarding Experience

Germany is a popular destination for tourists looking for fun and adventure as well as businesses looking to expand their customer base. As the center of Europe from a German Flag Imagegeographic and economic standpoint, Germany has much to offer. But before you don your lederhosen and head off to Oktoberfest or pack your briefcase for a corporate meeting with potential new business partners, it’s good to know some of the German customs and social protocols you’ll encounter.

A Look at the Cultural Customs of Brazil

In August, the 2016 Summer Olympics will attract thousands of people from around the world to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil’s glamorous tourist hub along South America’s Atlantic coast.Rio De Janeiro image
For those of you planning to attend the Games, or who may be interested in visiting or doing business there someday, we decided this is the perfect time to feature Brazil as part of our ongoing review of cultural customs and traditions in other countries.
Like the United States, Brazil has been described as a melting pot, reflecting the diverse mixture of cultures, races and nationalities that influenced its evolution over the past few centuries. The Portuguese were the predominant European group that constructed settlements in the country beginning in 1500. Over time, the European influence melded with the various local indigenous tribes to create the eclectic cultural makeup of modern-day Brazil.

Knowing Chinese Culture and Customs Will Enhance Your Global Customer Engagement Efforts

For more than 30 years, we’ve helped many companies with their translation and interpreting projects. Some of that work targeted customers living in the U.S. who speak another language. Other times it focused on sharing marketing messages and product global travel graphicinformation with people in other parts of the world.
One thing we continue to emphasize to our clients is that translating or interpreting words is only part of a successful multilingual communication process. Another important piece—whether conducting business outside of the country or entertaining visitors at your company—is to adapt to the cultural, social and business customs of your foreign speaking customers. This means paying close attention not just to the words you use, but also to the images associated with your message, the method used to convey the message, and even the personal interactions you make with clients or customers on their home soil.

Spring Traditions and Celebrations From Around the World

For those of us in the United States, we mark the long-anticipated arrival of spring with our customary—if somewhat unorthodox—rituals: March Madness, St. Patrick’s Day, Opening Day of baseball season and Spring Break, to name a few. Other parts of the world have their own annual spring traditions to celebrate the end of winter. We thought we’d share some of them with you.

Stonehenge image
Stonehenge at Dawn

Spring Equinox at Teotihuacán and Stonehenge
To welcome the first day of spring, thousands of people annually visit one of the ancient pyramids in Teotihuacán, Mexico or the Stonehenge monument in Wiltshire, England. In Mexico crowds climb to the top of the Pyramid of the Sun to absorb the sun’s energy. At Stonehenge they arrive before dawn to witness the first rays of sunlight, officially signaling the start of spring.