CULTURE SHOCK

Life in Queens (the Most Diverse Borough of the Most Diverse City in the World)

Easter Around the World

Now that we’ve said goodbye to the harsh winter and welcomed Spring with open arms, we can start all the Easter decorations, egg hunts, and filling our Easter egg baskets. Easter is a holiday celebrated by Christians commemorating the resurrection of Jesus. The 40 days leading up to Easter is known as Lent- during which observers give up something they enjoy as a symbol of their religious devotion. Americans celebrate Easter both for spiritual reasons and for the fun. Games are planned for the children such as the Easter egg roll or the egg hunt. The Easter bunny is a symbol for this holiday first brought by the settlers of German descent. Later on, Americans accepted the traditions as a main part of their Easter celebrations.

America is not the only country that celebrates Easter in a traditional way. Bermudians celebrate   Good Friday- two days before Easter- by making and flying home-made kites, and eating hot cross buns. In Norway, there is a tradition known as “Easter-Crime”. During Easter, people around Norway, read crime books or watch crime based television shows. No holiday tradition is complete in Norway without a big family meal. The meal table is covered with daffodils and other decorations. Another big Easter tradition for Norwegians is mountain trip and skiing. Norwegians head up to the mountains to celebrate this holiday while skiing, eating oranges and Kvikk Lunsj- a chocolate bar consisting of crunchy wafer and milk chocolate.

 

In Greece, the “pot throwing” ceremony takes place on the morning of Holy Saturday. Pots and pans are thrown across everywhere, being smashed on the streets. This unique custom is said to be derived from the Venetians. Some say that this custom welcomes Spring, and shows meaning for the new crops that are to be planted in the new pots. In France, on Easter Monday, a big omelet is served not the main square of the town. More than 4,500 eggs are used and can be fed up to 1,000 people.

 

While it is fascinating to see all these different cultures and customs, what’s important for any holiday is to be surrounded by family and friends.

 

 

Valentines Day All Around the World <3

Many people like to say that Valentines Day is just another sappy old holiday in which the businesses selling flowers, chocolate, and candy boom. While that may be true to a certain extent, I’m sure that the outcome of all the fuss is an abundance of happy couples all over the world.

Each country has their own way of celebrating Valentine’s Day. Here in America, there is the widely known concept of date night. Of course there is the showering of chocolates and flowers, and once in a while, someone decides to do something exotic for their significant other that surpasses the general boundary of the idea of Valentines.

Chocolate

 

I remember, ever since I was in middle school, my schools had flower and candy sales for Valentines. By high school, it became obvious that if you were in a relationship, you were bound to receive roses and an embarrassing serenading by member of the schools choir in the middle of class. In my close-knit group of friends, we always decided to surprise each other by little things. Honestly, we turned the holiday into a joke by senior year.

Valentine’s Day actually originated in France, where it was customary to send and receive love letters in the second week of February, because that is when the birds begin to mate.

One of my favorite Valentine’s customs is in Japan. The girls and women make chocolates for every important male in their life, from their father, to brothers, to a significant other. Their are different types of chocolates, each symbolizing the kind of feelings you have to offer the opposite person. In March, they have “White Day”, in which the boys and men who received chocolates for Valentine’s Day return the gift to the women.

England is known for the love of Shakespeare, so it is not found unrealistic or particularly surprising that the British decide to convey their love and feelings through the use of sonnets and other script writing.

In Canada and South Africa, there is never a time not to celebrate, and Valentine’s Day is just as good a day as any other. They have balls and in some areas, week long parties. In South Africa, these celebrations are called Lupercalia. This event requires young girls to pin the names of their lover on their sleeve.

The most outrageous tradition of all comes now. In Scotland, it is said that the first person you see on the street is your Valentine. How weird would it be to spend Valentine’s Day with a complete stranger?

Well, that said, I hope everyone has an amazing Valentine’s Day! 🙂

Holiday DIY’s!

I’m quite aware that I am straying away from the topic of culture shock a bit, but I’m sure many of you have realized that I absolutely adore the holiday season. And this holiday season, I have decided to devote a good amount of time to DIY projects. I found a few online that looked interesting, but would be a bit difficult for those of us without a creative bone in our body to work out. Nevertheless, I came up with a handful of easy Do-It-Yourself projects for great presents that are even better for your wallet!

Presents: 

DIY Tea Set:

If you have a friend or family member who always seems to be stressed out, this is a great relaxing present for them. From a local dollar store or Corningware factory, you can buy single tea cups for as low as $2.00 or as high as over $50. You can decide the extravagance of the gift. Add several different types of tea bags and some sugar cubes and wrap in cellophane, and finish it off with a colorful ribbon. If you want to add to the soothing factor, you can put in some scented candles or bath salts! I’m sure this de-stressing gift will be much appreciated by anyone!

Ikea sells cute glass tea cups for a mere $3.00! http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/90209991/

This can also be made into a Holiday Hot Chocolate Mug!

DIY Beanies

In this cold weather, and dropping degrees by the day, a warm hat is something that any girl would need, but who wants to wear a boring plain hat? Instead, this year you can gift your best friend a personalized beanie, with minimal cost. Forever 21 sells adorable colored beanies for just under $3.00.

It is very simple to dress these up with the use of some fabric glue, ribbons, and  iron on pieces. Michael’s is the place to go for all your crafting needs, and if you are short on ideas, check out http://www.tipjunkie.com/post/beanie-designs/ for some help!

DIY Laptop Case

We all have that friend who seems to be a bit careless and drops their electronics everywhere they go! (In my group of friend, that would me me!) The perfect solution? A personalized laptop case that they wouldn’t dare to forget is on their lap.

Laptop Case

Just grab a sturdy large envelope ( you can find one at Michael’s for under $10) and add whatever they like! From Hello Kitty stickers to a classy wash of gold paint, anything will do!

Decorations

Ornament Wreath

Last year, my sister and I were putting up the tree when we came across tons of unused ornaments that would just sit in the basement until next year. My sister ( who is a bit more artsy than myself) took it upon herself to make the most amazing wreath! With a wire hanger, she simply undid the wire, shaped it into a circle,  and put in the ornaments. After about an hour, it looked something like this:

If you need any help with this, a handy YouTube video is on the way!

http://youtu.be/4W99iC2MD3E

I hope that you will enjoy making some of these this holiday season! 🙂

 


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