5 Winter Celebrations to Enjoy with Your Customers and Colleagues

The days are getting shorter, the air is getting colder, and all around the world, it’s human nature to brighten up the winter season by celebrating with friends and family.

Your colleagues and customers alike will celebrate in different ways depending on their religion, culture and where they (or their families) are from. With that in mind, here is a quick guide to celebrating the winter holidays with colleagues, customers and friends from around the world.

Christmas

When to celebrate: 25 December, but some Orthodox churches celebrate it on 7 January.

Everyone knows Christmas, but when it comes to how other cultures celebrate, you might know less than you think.

Here’s a cheat sheet of Christmas greetings and fun facts from 5 different countries.

Ireland

What to say

  • Happy Christmas: “Nollaig shona dhuit” if you’re talking to one person or “Nollaig shona daoibh” if you’re addressing a group.
  • Season’s Greetings: Beannachtaí an tSéasúir

Fun fact: A candle in the window has long been a traditional Irish way to advertise hospitality to lonely travellers who might happen to pass by on Christmas Eve. However, in modern times it’s come by a different meaning: a welcoming signal to Irish emigrants, lighting their way back home.

Poland

What to say

  • Merry Christmas: Wesołych Świąt Bożego Narodzenia
  • Season’s Greetings: Wesołych Świąt

Fun fact: Polish families share a “Christmas wafer” called opłatek before Christmas dinner. As they pass the wafer around the table, everyone forgives each other for the past year’s conflicts.

Hungary

What to say

Merry Christmas: Boldog karácsonyt
Season’s Greetings: Kellemes ünnepeket kívánunk

Fun fact: Lucky Hungarian children get presents twice: once on 6 December for Saint Nicholas’s Day, and then another round from Baby Jesus on Christmas Day itself.

The Czech Republic

What to say

  • Merry Christmas: Veselé Vánoce!
  • Happy Holidays: Hezké svátky!

Fun facts: Fresh carp is the traditional Christmas dinner in the Czech Republic. The fresher, the better- some families still buy them alive and keep them in the bathtub until it’s time for the oven. Other families purchase a live fish and then release it into the river as an act of Christmas mercy.

Slovakia

What to Say

Merry Christmas: Veselé Vianoce

Fun fact: Slovakians take their Christmas cookies seriously- it’s traditional to bake more than ten different types.

Diwali

When to celebrate: 7 November (date varies)

Fun facts: Diwali is the Hindu festival of light, signifying light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance. Families prepare by cleaning, decorating and renovating their homes and offices before dressing up for the festival and feast. The celebration includes lights shining from housetops, beside outside doors and in windows, along with lights around temples and other buildings in the communities and countries where it is observed

Yaldā Night (Shab-e Yalda)

When to celebrate: 21 December

Fun facts: Yalda Night is a Persian winter solstice festival to mark the beginning of the end of winter. Families stay up late for the longest, darkest night of the year, talking, laughing and reading poetry. Traditional foods include watermelons, pomegranates, nuts and dried fruit.

Hanukkah

When to celebrate: 22-30 December 2019

Hanukkah is probably the most well-known Jewish holiday. It commemorates the liberation of the Jerusalem and the Holy Temple from the Greeks. According to Jewish scripture, after the temple was liberated, the warriors went looking for consecrated oil to use for a dedication ceremony that was meant to last eight nights. They only found enough oil for one night, but miraculously, it lasted for all eight.

What to say

  • English: Happy Hanukkah
  • Hebrew: Chag Urim Sameach!
  • Yiddish: Ah Freilichen Chanukah!
  • Polish: Szczęśliwej Chanuki!
  • Hungarian: Boldog Hanukát!
  • Czech: Šťastnou Chanuku!

Fun facts: To celebrate the miracle of the oil, it’s tradition to eat foods fried in oil: latkes (potato pancakes) and jam-filled jelly doughnuts called sufganiyot are especially tasty and popular.

Lohri

When to celebrate: 13 January

Fun facts: Lohri is an Indian festival traditionally celebrated in Punjab. It marks the Winter Solstice and the beginning of spring. People celebrate with bonfires, kite flying and dancing. Children go from house to house to sing songs and beg for sweets, like trick-or-treating without the costumes.

Chinese New Year

When to celebrate: 5 February 2019

What to say

  • Happy New Year: xīn nián kuài lè
  • Congratulations and be prosperous: Gōng xǐ fā cái

Fun fact: You’ll see a lot of red in Chinese New Year displays, and that’s because red symbolises good luck and happiness. Additionally, each Chinese New Year celebration has a Chinese Zodiac animal associated with it. 2019 will be the Year of the Pig.

Thoughtfulness Matters

Use your new-found knowledge to celebrate with your colleagues and customers. And if you’re trying to build loyalty amongst a diverse group of customers, it helps if your marketing materials reflect that diversity. By partnering with a translation agency, you can customise your campaigns to target different communities and bring them into your store. Being thoughtful pays off in more ways than one!

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