Monday, 21 July 2014

Time to Celebrate with the Locals

National holidays are a great way to immerse yourself in the country you’ve moved to. The jubilant atmosphere is the perfect place to showcase the local culture from carnivals in Brazil to military parades in Moscow. And on top of this, the local people are going to be in high spirits – after all, who doesn’t like a holiday?

Here are four of the world’s great national holidays, tell us if there are any that we’ve missed in the comments below!

Image: Creativecommons/Wonderlane
USA – Independence Day, 4 July
One of the greatest displays of American culture and national pride is surely Independence Day, 4 July. In the build-up to the day, don’t be surprised by how everything from shops to schools will be immersed in holiday preparations. On the day you can enjoy fantastic festivities and fireworks in public spaces.   Alternatively, use the opportunity to befriend your neighbours by hosting a true American cook-out?

Russia – Victory Day, 9 May   
As a show of military might, you will be blown away by the Russian celebration of Victory Day which marks the Russian victory in World War Two, known by Russians as The Great Patriotic War. If you’re in a large city like St Petersburg, head to a major thoroughfare to see parades of tanks and soldiers. If you’re in Moscow, Red Square is the site of the largest marches, overseen by the President himself. Be sure to know how you’re getting home though, the metro systems will be heaving!

Turkey – Ramazan Bayrami, July-August
Ramadan (also Ramazan) is an Islamic holy month, which consists of 30 days of fasting. It is observed in all Islamic countries so check out whether it affects you. Whilst the usual bustling Turkish teashops go quiet and some restaurants close, the locals really appreciate it when expats eat discretely during the day. The end of Ramadan, however, is a major celebration. There is a three-day holiday, Ramazan Bayrami, when offices often close and public transport is limited. Local Turks pay visits to loved ones and send greetings cards so why not do the same and send greetings to your Turkish friends?

Image: creativecommons/PortoBayEvents

Brazil – New Year
In Brazil, New Year’s celebrations are a major calendar event and as an expat you don’t want to miss out! Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro is a mecca for travellers who flock to watch the fireworks over the Pacific Ocean. But to avoid the masses without missing the atmosphere, how about taking friends and family to a quieter corner? Find a spot in the shadow of Brazilian poet Carlos Drummond de Andrade, immortalised in bronze on the promenade, where you can set up with drinks and food and enjoy at your leisure!

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