You are part of a wonderful community of AHLI students from many different countries, coming from a variety of cultures celebrating unique holidays. Usually in this blog we talk about American holidays, but this month we thought we would share September holidays from countries around the world, including those from your home countries!
USA: Labor Day (September 1)
Labor Day celebrates the contributions and accomplishments of American workers to the national economy. The federal holiday was founded in 1894 after several years of labor activists pushing for change in safety conditions and long working hours. Labor Day now represents the end of Summer by recognizing the holiday on the first Monday in September. Today, families often gather for barbeques and picnics before the weather starts to turn cooler into the fall season.
Japan: Respect for the Aged Day (September 20)
Japan and Palau are the only countries in the world to have a holiday honoring the elderly. This relatively “young” national holiday was designated in 1966, and occurs on the third Monday of September. Respecting the elderly is very important to Japanese culture, so this day is set aside to volunteer, offer service, and show appreciation to the older generation.
South Korea: Chuseok/Thanksgiving (September 20-23)
Like American Thanksgiving, Chuseok celebrates a good harvest, but is centered around the lunar calendar. People return to their family homes to celebrate. A common food eaten during the holiday is songpyeon, which is a rice cake stuffed with sesame seeds, black beans, mung beans, cinnamon, pine nuts, walnuts, chestnut jujube, and honey. It is traditional for the entire family to make songpyeon together on the eve of Chuseok.
China: Mid-Autumn/Moon Festival (September 21)
This holiday is celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th month of the Chinese lunar calendar with a full moon. This holiday is observed in many Asian countries. Lanterns of all sizes and shapes are carried, floated in the sky, or displayed to light people’s paths for the future. Mooncakes, which are a rich pastry filled with sweet-bean, egg yolk, lotus-seed paste are traditionally eaten during this festival.
We hope that while you are here in the United States, you will be able learn and enjoy new cultural traditions. Holidays are a great way to better understand your new ‘adopted’ country, and to make friends. Are there American holidays you are looking forward to experiencing this year?
Tiffanee M. Wright, MA, MPH | Executive Director
AHLI – International Education and Homestay