Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Adopt the holidays that match your visa

Source: Creative Commons / ronald belezza
Everybody loves any excuse for a party - and for expats, the possibilities double when they take on the customs of their host country whilst retaining those inherent celebrations that already have pride of place on their calendar. 

March is rich in National Holidays globally: 
Mauritius - Independence Day March 12
Ireland - St. Patrick's Day March 17

UK - Mother's Day March 18
Liechtenstein - St. Joseph's Day March 19
Greece - Independence Day March 25
Bangladesh - Independence Day March 26

… to name but a few. All packed with their historical and maybe slightly odd traditions - to non-nationals anyway.

Source: Creative Commons/ h de c

Expats who have moved abroad should check out what your country celebrates and integrate those events into your social life. Researching what celebrations are based on might help you find out more about the overall customs and values of the new country you are in, as well as expanding your social life with new people, places, and activities.

Or alternatively, you can think about DIY Holidays, where you create your own milestone holidays that correspond with your journey as an expat. Holding on to the holidays of your native country could soothe the pangs of homesickness, as well as connect you with other expats in your new area. You never know, your new neighbours might take an interest in your mildly strange customs, spawning an even more culturally diverse community to live in! 

If you have children, there is even more of a reason to get involved in local cultural celebrations, and to teach them about all of the countries they belong to.

Here are some great websites to clue you up on the festivities near you:
  • Expat arrivals has a section on national holidays under each countries’ tab.
  • Angloinfo has good information on Australia’s national and regional specific holidays
  • This blog has lots of detail on Denmark’s ‘helligdage’
  • If you live in Sri Lanka, good choice! Named as the country with the most public holidays, you could participate in at least 25 a year!
  • Similarly, in Hong Kong, both Western and Chinese holidays are celebrated, so expats here will be spoilt for choice!

National holidays and public celebrations can form your forever-changing cultural identity as an expat, and we’d love to hear about which ones you have discovered, and those which you have retained and shared with others in your new country.


  1. Oooh, St David's day on March 1st, where the Welsh across the world will be bewildering people by wearing leeks, daffodils, or very dodgy hats..

    1. Thanks Rach, how can we miss out St David's Day on the 1st. It's great finding out all these celebrations from around the world!


Have your say here



Related Posts with Thumbnails