Category Archive for "Cultural Spotlights"

When In Rome, Ride the Bus

When in Rome, Ride the Bus

October 8, 2015
Erika Batiz

I planted my legs shoulder-width apart, bracing myself for the inevitable unexpected lurch of the subway car. I ride the “T” (Boston’s public transportation) daily, but this time I found myself wondering if the various public transportation systems around the world are reflective of their respective cultures. Are the attitudes and atmosphere within the cars of the T products of Boston’s culture? I’ve spent time in Peru, where the public bus system seemed more informal and fast-paced. Could this be connected to the Peruvian culture and its values? The more I thought about it, while wincing at the screeching sound of the T’s wheels, the more I realized that these questions are also often faced by volunteers when abroad. During…

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Text over image of Chinese New Year

New Ways to Celebrate Your New Year!

December 29, 2014
Elaina Druid

New Years is one of the most popular internationally celebrated holidays in the world. It’s interesting to examine the diversity of traditions that each country has to celebrate the new year. Our goal at United Planet is to help volunteers experience and appreciate a world outside of their own. Take this moment to expand your knowledge and learn about what kinds of unique traditions other countries have that help them ring in the new year. In Spain, there is a tradition where a grape is eaten on each chime of midnight on New Year’s Day. Each grape that is eaten represents the twelve months of the year. It is believed that eating grapes will bring prosperity and good luck for…

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Spring Equinox Celebrations Around the World

April 1, 2013
L. Elyse Quattlebaum

In January, we posted a blog about winter celebrations around the world.  Now that spring is in the air, we thought it was time for a post about springtime celebrations around the world!  While many people have just celebrated Easter, it is only one of many celebrations relating to the spring equinox. While Americans are painting eggs, Bali Hindus are decorating masks, Zoroastrians are planting seeds, and Japanese Buddhists are honoring their ancestors in personal ways. Higan Literally translated “to arrive on the Other Shore,” Higan has been celebrated by a large majority of Buddhists in Japan since the Heian period (between 794 and 1190 C.E.). It is celebrated for a week beginning with the spring equinox and offers a…

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The Simple Guide to Celebrating Chinese New Year

February 7, 2013
Sandy Trinh

Over a billion people celebrate Chinese New Year, also known as Lunar New Year, in countries including China, Taiwan, Indonesia, and the Philippines, and in Chinatowns all over the world.  A flurry of preparations ensues well before the New Year, including cleansing the house and putting up decorations to sweep away bad fortune and invite in good fortune for the year to come. Traditionally, New Year’s festivities last for 15 days, starting on the first day of the New Year and ending with the Lantern Festival.  You may not have the time or resources to travel abroad at the moment – but you can still celebrate the New Year in your own home – the simple way!  Here is a quick guide…

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From Christmas to Diwali: Winter Holidays around the World

January 3, 2013
Lauren Mackie

During the winter time in the United States, many department stores start decorating in typical Christmas colors of red and green with wreaths, lights and ribbons.  However, there are so many more winter holidays that exist around the world- and we would like to share a few with you today!  Besides, who can say no to more reasons to celebrate?  Christmas: Celebrated all around the world, Christmas falls on December 25th each year to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. The word “Christmas” literally means “Christ’s Mass,” and is a feast central to the Christian liturgical year. Furthermore, it is a civil holiday in many of the world’s nations and an integral part of the Christmas and holiday season. Celebratory decorations typically…

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Guten Appetite! Recipes and Stories from Long Term Volunteer in Germany

March 10, 2011

We recently heard from Barbara, a Long Term volunteer who just arrived to Germany this January. She has a great blog from her trip so far including delicious recipes and tales of her volunteer experience so far. We included a couple entries here, as well as the link to the rest of her blog…Enjoy!

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