December 2020 - Holiday Season!


Wishing for a better future, in our own ways

Tis' the Season Again!


This year couldn’t be more different, and the expectations and trends have changed dramatically. Decisions related to festive celebrations are majorly influenced by the level of COVID-19 precautions being followed and the trust placed in hospitality establishments. Holiday travel plans are down to 30% globally. While hotel stays decline to only 7%, venues for dining out are still being visited. However, celebrations at home are widely preferred across all age groups.

That being said, what does not change is hope for a better future. Moving towards a new year is a big motivator for most people and leaving 2020 behind is a sure relief. Nonetheless, 2020 has pushed us beyond limits in innovation and resourcefulness. We have found a New Normal in the Virtual world and reached staggering standards in hygiene and safety. Moreover, the repairs made to the ecosystem cannot be ignored. Carbon emissions falling sharply, both land and oceans being greener and cleaner, are reassuring aftereffects of a few months of reduced human activity.

With these takeaways from an eye-opening 2020, we establish aspirations for a brighter 2021. There are major breakthroughs awaited in Science and Leadership.

This time is the period of celebration for the whole world and specially this year a lot of hopes come along. The holiday season, irrespective of the circumstances, gets everyone in a cheerful spirit in their own way. Though travels and events are not at their prime, traditions continue to live. So here are few unique customs and rituals adopted by different countries to commemorate the new beginnings.

Unique Holiday Celebrations Around the World

1. The Netherlands - 5th December, an important day.

Festive season in the Netherlands begins early November with the Sint Maarten parade with children walking with lamps and distributing candy. Soon after, “Sinterklaas” with his “Petes” is expected to make is arrival. The celebrations are in full swing from 15th November to 5th December, when kids hang a shoe by their window every night in anticipation of presents. 5th December is when families gather and open presents. It is only after this day that Christmas decorations are put up. 24th December is not celebrated, but 25th and 26th December are days of revelry.

Advancing to New Year’s, the culture more inclined towards warm get-togethers of family and friends; restaurants remain closed and going out is not common. The traditional holiday food “oliebollen”, a fried ball of dough, is popular across the country.


2. Australia - At the peak of Summer!

A sun, sand and sea Christmas in this country is unique in every way, from “Surfing Santa” on bright beaches to seafood feasts in the outdoors. Backyard Cricket with the family is another special tradition in the country. One always expects a festive Christmas dinner, but the Aussies are all about a Christmas lunch with prawns on the barbecue. Carols by Candlelight is another popular event where people come together at night to sing under the stars.

Moving to New Years, Australia is one of the first 5 countries to welcome the new year. The last sunset and spectacular landscapes of natural beauty, in addition to the classic Sydney fireworks are the highlights of New Year’s in the country.

3. Philippines - a long, breathtaking celebration.

The celebrations have a strong Asian influence alongside western elements. Holiday season in the Philippines kicks off after All Saints’ Day in November. Caroling begins early, overlapping with the old Filipino tradition of pangangaluluwa, similar to trick-or-treat. As December approaches, religious observations begin – with the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. From December 16th begins the 9 days series of dawn Masses called Simbang Gabi and Misa de Gallo, ending on the Christmas Eve.

Christmas decorations carry a Filipino touch with Parols (star shaped lanterns) and Belen (Nativity Scene depictions). Next comes New Year’s, with loud music and fireworks over the midnight dinner Medianoche.


4. Mexico - Posadas, Pastorelas, Piñatas and more!

In Mexico, the holiday season commences with the feast day Dia de Guadalupe, on December 12th marked by a pilgrimage to Basilica de Guadalupe, in northern Mexico City. From December 16th to 24th is the Advent Season of nightly processions, or Posadas. Additionally, there are Pastorelas, Christmas themed comedic skits that depict nativity.

December 25th is the day of ultimate revelry with midnight masses and large family gatherings. Traditional elements like nacimientos (nativity scenes) and candy-filled piñatas for decorations and romeritos, champurrado, tamelas for the feast, are popular. New Year’s also has Spanish traditions like eating 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight.

5. Nordic Countries - Gledelig Jul and Godt Nytt År!

The ultimate White Christmas, or Jul, Jól or Joulu as called in these countries, has more to it with individual traditions in Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark and Iceland. In Sweden, Finland and Iceland, Christmas begins from 13th December with the celebration of St. Lucia’s Day. Each country has its own perception of Santa and the Christmas elves – while Sweden has the forest gnome Tomte and Denmark has its mischievous Julemanden (Santa Claus) and Julenisser (Santa’s elves), Iceland has 13 Santas called Jolasveiner, or the “Yuletide Lads”, each with a special name and character.

Additionally, Norway's Julebukk ("Yule Goat") is popular for its homage to the Viking heritage. Moving to New Years, there are warm traditions that bring friends and families together and are unmissable events of the holiday season. These include the live broadcast from the Skansen Open-Air Museum in Stockholm where the bells chime and the Danish excitement for Queen Margrethe’s New Year’s Eve Speech.

It is the celebration of a unifying wish for a better tomorrow that revives the spirits during these trying times. With the same hope for upliftment and prosperity, we at Young Hoteliers Summit wish our readers a very Happy New Year!

Let us know about your Holiday Celebrations in the comments!

Every year, YHS welcomes speakers and student delegates from over 40 leading hospitality institutions, as well as members of the media and other external guests at the summit. Building on a different theme each year, YHS serves as a platform for insightful and engaging debates and discussions on the most Topical issues of the hospitality industry. For more information on the panels, schedule, and YHS in general, please visit us at www.yhsglobal.com.
Contact: Muskaan Dadu Head of Press & Public Relations muskaan.dadu@ehl.ch

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