Holidays Around the World

It is that time of the year again when businesses have to navigate the religiously inter-mingled global environment, reduced to the feeble “Season’s Greetings” in order to remain politically correct. Even a Happy New Year wish is a bit tricky, because it is based on the Gregorian (Christian) calendar. While the Gregorian calendar is a de facto international standard and businesses around the world use it (imagine the confusion if each country used a different calendar!), it is important to know that other calendars exist as well and are widely used in non-business environments. In the Bengali calendar, New Year’s Day is on or around April 15, the date we usually associate with filing tax returns rather than celebrating. Like many other holidays based on the position of the sun or the moon (think Easter), this one does not have a fixed date. The Bengali calendar might seem like a silly example, until you realize that there are more than 200 million speakers of Bengali – about the number of speakers of French and German combined. In the Chinese calendar – and there are twice as many speakers of Chinese than there are of English – New Year’s Day (also known as the Lunar New Year or the Spring Festival) falls on the first day of the first lunar month. Read about these intricacies in Jiri’s article Holidays Around the World.

Jiri Stejskal
CETRA Language Solutions