This past weekend my family and I celebrated Christmas. Unfortunately, this year we were more solemn with celebrating because of our family dog’s recent passing and also personal family matters. But, we did keep up our custom tradition of decorating the Christmas tree with family ornaments, buying gifts for one another, attending our church’s midnight mass, listening to classic Christmas holiday music, and having a family dinner together. Just like the year last Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were well-spent.
Outside of the U.S. the Christmas period is celebrated a little differently. In Europe and many Western nations Christmas is celebrated with family and friends, but majorly focused on festivities more so than the more quieter gatherings families have in the U.S. Additionally, in the U.S. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day (24th, 25th) are nationally and federally recognized days of rest. However, in Europe, Boxing Day (26th) is a holiday celebrated right after so the Christmas festivities remain ongoing. In Korea (a non-Western nation) Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are not viewed as family holidays. These days are not nationally recognized (*if the days fall on a weekend), but Christmas Day is observed and open businesses are limited.
Compared to the U.S. Christmas in Korea geared more to couples. It is a time to celebrate the start of winter and cozy up with loved ones, which include lovers and family. Having lived in Korea for a number of Christmases I am happy that I was able to return home during the holiday season to spend my Christmas celebrating it the American way. While, not discrediting Korean, European, or other nations Christmas characteristics I much prefer how Christmas is celebrated back home.
Nowadays no matter what country you reside in Christmas is modestly recognized. Whether you are in the U.S. or Brazil you can be sure to find some Christmas festivities or celebratory events taking place. Its nice to think that though different in each country Christmas is practically viewed universally. This is also true for New Year’s Eve and New Years Day (December 31st, January 1st). These two days & holiday consecutively follow Christmas and recognized both federally and nationally in the U.S. But, these days are also recognized around the world even in Asia, which actually celebrates twice (*on the 1st of January and once again during the Lunar New Year arrival around February).
For me, New Year’s is a celebratory time to enjoy with either family, close friends, or a group of strangers whom you happen to meet (≧∀≦) I’ve spent my New Year’s doing just that in no particular order. Since my college days I have spent my New Year’s celebrating (sometimes) outside of New York with close friends and newly made friends. Simply enjoying one anothers company as we enjoy our youth. Recently, though now with age, I like to spend New Year’s away from the large crowds and more at friendly social get-to-gethers with close acquaintances, co-workers, or friends.
This year I will be celebrating New Years Eve and New Years Day once again in Seoul as I have done a few times before. However, this year I will be celebrating New Years with the BF and together we will be celebrating with our close friends. I can’t wait to spend New Years weekend enjoying Korea-themed winter festivities taking place and being back in the land of kimchi.
As I finish this last sentence I am off to sleep since today is D-day (departure day) for me. Next blog post will be written while I am in mid-flight to Tokyo, in-between my stopover & after I touch down in Seoul. For trip updates follow me on my personal Instagram page cagalli88 to see daily/weekly pictures of my adventures while I am overseas & Happy Holidays!