Tis the season! For many, this time of year means celebrating traditions that mean something special. It’s a time to gather with loved ones, eat delicious foods, exchange meaningful gifts, and observe traditions unique to our cultures.
Argos has always been proud of its diverse global workforce, and so we’d like to shed light on how our Argos family celebrates and what traditions we hold dear from different parts of the world.
We interviewed four people from Argentina, Japan, the US and Trinidad and Tobago. Here’s how they celebrate.
Every 8th of December, it’s customary to decorate your Christmas tree to mark the day of the Virgin Mary.
As a child, I’d wait eagerly for the 8th to decorate the trees both at home and at my grandma’s. Our holidays would be full of family, food, celebrations and, of course, presents that “Papá Noel” would bring for us to open at midnight on the 24th.
Christmas is not widely celebrated as a religious holiday in Japan, and the traditions are far different than that of Western ones. December 24th and 25th are recognized more as the time for friends and couples to have parties, meet up for dinner and celebrate as much as they can. Many people enjoy the Christmas cake and Kentucky Fried Chicken (due to the clever marketing strategies by KFC)!
The New Year is more like a traditional Western Christmas and more important celebration in Japan. It is the period where families get together, visit the temple/shrine for prayers, and have a special meal. For example, we have Toshikoshi Soba (Year Crossing Noodles/New Year’s Eve Soba Noodle Soup) to enjoy a fulfilling, peaceful life with every slurp of the long noodles, Zoni (Japanese soup containing mochi rice cakes) to brings good luck and good health for the coming year and Osechi (a range of dishes with auspicious names representing wishes) for future fortune. This New Year Season is celebrated from December 31st to January 7th.
In the USA, there are as many different types of holiday traditions as there are family backgrounds. No one tradition can be said to cover all, so I will just write a bit about my family personally. Christmas is the biggest holiday celebration in my family. Since I was a child, we have had a few traditions.
Christmas tree selection
We live out in the country, so it was always the tradition that my sister and I would go out into the woods behind our house and select our own tree. This meant that we often had very non-traditional Christmas trees. I remember one year we could not find a pine or spruce tree to our liking, so we ended up cutting off a branch from a manzanita bush and using that. Not very green, but still a memorable tree.
We also have the tradition of stuffing a sock for each member of the family with little items. The rule is they can’t cost more than a dollar or two. Usually, this is where we get re-stocked with toothpaste, socks, soap, etc., for the year. (A few sweets are always thrown in as well, of course. 😉). The socks are opened one at a time, starting with the youngest family member present and going on to the oldest.
A birthday cake for Jesus.
My family is Christian, so we always celebrate the season with a baked reminder of what it is all about. 🎂
Trinidad & Tobago
The holiday season in Trinidad typically lasts between Christmas (25th December) and New Year’s Day. It’s all about ‘paranging,’ which is visiting our loved ones for merrymaking and enjoying music, dancing, and food which are characteristic of the Spanish community in Trinidad.
The main dishes we all look forward to on Christmas day are ponche–-de-creme (our version of eggnog), ham, homemade bread, ginger beer, and pastelles (a version of tamales).
And we can’t forget our favourite Christmas dessert (a cake made using fruits that have been rum-soaked for a couple of months)!
For my family, the days between Christmas and New Year are spent at the beach.