A) Give some information about the celebration/ festival you have researched especially how it originated.
Christmas began on the birth of a baby in Bethlehem. The baby was named Jesus and Christians consider him to be the Son of God. Christmas was founded in Palestine but first celebrated was in Italy. It is considered likely the first Christmas celebrations in Roman Saturnalia. We celebrate Christmas on every year of December 25. There are many stories about Jesus from every different country, and also there are many different types of celebration. We celebrate Christmas on every December 25 is because the month and date of Jesus’s birth was unknown. An old Christian tradition said that the day when Mary (Jesus’s mother) was told that she would have a very special baby, on March 25, which means she might got pregnant on March 25, so people assume that after nine months being pregnant, Jesus might be born which is December 25, so that people mark it as the day of Jesus’s Birth and called it Christmas. Other than that, there is another reason why Christmas on December 25, it was the winter solstice where there is the shortest time between the sun rising and the sun setting. This situation happens on December 21st or 22nd. Pagans assume that the winter will be over and spring was coming and they are ready for a festival to celebrate it and worshipped the sun for winning over the darkness of winter, the pagans assume that Jesus is the one whom represent the sun to overcome their darkness. Christmas lasted 12 days from Christmas Eve on 24th December till 6th of January, they truly believe that it is the time when Jesus revealed to the world.
Christmas will always relate with Christmas eve. Christmas Eve is the day before Christmas Day and is associated with celebrating Jesus Christ’s birth. Christmas eve will be celebrated on every 24 December, on that day countries and religions which officially have Christmas Eve will be public holiday. Even if it is not public holiday, be aware that many businesses in Europe will give employees the afternoon or the whole day as a holiday. Christmas is traditionally a time to spend with family and relatives so that it is not a good moment to run their business. In Christmas Eve, some family celebrate it by having meals featuring traditional Christmas dishes. In some cultures, presents are exchanged and opened on the night of Christmas Eve. Many homes have their Christmas trees set up with mistletoes hung, and other Christmas decorations, such as holly and ivy.
The evergreen fir tree has traditionally been used to celebrate winter festival for thousands of years. Pagans will use its branches to decorate their homes during the winter solstice, as it made them think of the spring to come. Christians use it as a sign of eternity life with God. They believe that evergreen fir tree in Christmas is one of the symbolic of history, reminding them about the past history what had happen and what our ancestor had gone through. Christmas tree was famous until year 1846 Germany’s Price Albert brought it to England when he married with Queen Victoria. They two were sketched in front of a Christmas tree and this tradition become popular.
When Christmas, our parents told us that being a good kid will receive present from santa claus. Santa Claus come from st.Nicholas, a Christian bishop living in turkey in the 4th century AD.St.Nicholas had inherited great deal of wealth and was known for giving away to help the needy. When sainted became the protector of children.
We often see the Christmas is decorated by green, red and gold. It was all the traditional colour of Christmas. This is because green represent the eternal life, especially the evergreen fir tree reminded people that spring would come and that winter wouldn’t last long. Red represent the blood of Jesus which was shed in his execution. Gold is the first colour related to Christmas, also one of the three gifts given by wise men, which symbolising royalty.
B) What did you know about the celebration before you began your research ?When we talked about Christmas, what we know about the Christmas there will be Christmas tree. It traditionally decorated with roses made of coloured paper but now we can see the Christmas tree with lights build in everywhere that enriched the atmosphere of Christmas. Besides that, there will also some prepared present place under the Christmas tree for the children. Children usually exchange their present each other. When Christmas dinner, every family will have a whole roasted turkey as a main dish. After the main dishes, they will also serve some homemade dessert such as pudding, apple pie and fruit cake.
Another thing that remind me in Christmas is Santa Claus. He is an old man who gives the children presents secretly when they are sleeping. Children always hope to meet the Santa Claus every year of Christmas. Other than that, Jingle bell is also a symbol of Christmas. Normally, people use jingle bell to decorate the Christmas tree.
C) What are the unique feature of this celebration ? What you learned from it ?Christmas is a Christian Holy day that record the birth of Jesus who Christians and believe to be the son of God. It is an annual festival celebration of commemorating the birth of Jesus. Christmas Day is celebrated on the 25th of December and it is a public holiday in many of world-wide nations. Christmas Day is celebrated religiously by a majority of Christians, as well as culturally by non- Christians. But, how much of us really understand about Christmas ? And how much of us really understand about Christmas’s special feature ?One of the specific characteristic of Christmas is completing an Advent Calendar or Advent wreath. Advent is a special calendar used to calculate the days of Advent which leads up to Christmas. It can drop on any day between 27th November and 3rd December. Advent Sunday is the fourth Sunday before Christmas day. Many Advent customs involve calculating the days until Christmas begins. Advent wreath also known as Advent crown. On the Advent crown, there will have four candles on it. The four candles represent the four weeks of advent. Each week represents one thousand year.
Moreover, one of the special characteristic of Christmas is exchange the Christmas card. A Christmas card is a greeting card send as a Christmas wishes and it is a part of a Christian traditional celebration of Christmas in order to transmit between people a range of sentiments related to Christmas and Holiday season. Their traditional greetings on the card is usually- Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
We always exchange present on Christmas. Why? People exchange gifts when Christmas for many reasons. Giving presents remind us of the gifts that the three wise men(Gaspar,Melchior,Balthazar) brought to Jesus: gold, frankincense and myrrh. The three wise men was actually ordered by King Herod because King Herod was told that Jesus is the one who has been born king of the Jews so that King Herod want to find out where Jesus located because he want to worship him.
Christians will also display a various of Christmas decorations and decorate their home with decorations . For example, Christmas tree, garlands, wreaths, Christmas lights, holly and more. The Christmas lights are used to decorate the Christmas tree, wreaths and also Christmastide. Christmas lights is also known as fairy light. The Christmas lights represent Christ being light of the world. Garlands were made of flowers and leaves. They will usually hang on the door during the Christmas festival.
Furthermore, nativity play is one for their special feature during Christmas. The nativity play is usually performed during Christmas. Nativity play is a play which recounts the story Nativity of Jesus. Before the Christmas breaks starts, the Christian oriented or Sunday schools will organize a nativity play.
Christmas stoking is an empty stock that is hung on Christmas Eve so that the Santa Clause can fill the stockings with candy, toys, chocolate or a small gift when he arrives. . Christian usually place their stockings on a fireplace mantel, on a bedpost, or their room. The stockings appear during Christmas is because of a story. The Santa Claus- St Nicholas heard of a man who loss his wife and poor fortune, can’t afford his three daughters’ dowry to have them married. Santa Claus heard it and went to the man’s home, climbed down from the chimney and dropped the gold coins into his daughters’ stockings, which were hanging by the fireplace to dry. The poor man accept the donations and could pay dowries for his daughters.
Another special feature of Rudolph was actually conceived by a department store, Montgomery Ward, as a marketing gimmick to get children to purchase holiday colouring books. Rudolph almost didn’t have a red nose either: At the time, a red nose was a symbol of habitual alcoholism and Montgomery Ward thought he would look like a drunkard. Rudolph was almost called Rollo or Reginald.
One of the most popular special features is cookies and milk. In the United States, they normally will leave out a plate of cookies like Oreos or classic chocolate chip and a glass of milk for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve is well-established tradition among children. Leaving cookies and milk for Santa and few carrots for the Reindeer is for the parents to educate their children that it was important to give to others and show gratitude for the gifts they were lucky enough to receive during Christmas during the hardship of the economy.
D) Why do you think that understanding another person’s culture help to improve communication across cultures.
When interacting with other people, we will bring a series of assumptions, values and beliefs. As communities and the workforce become increasingly diverse, it is more important than ever to learn how to interact with people from different culture.
First of all, if we understanding another person’s culture, we are able to know our word and action are sometimes different from other’s culture people. When we get to know that some of our word and action might invasion other people, we can change the words we talk and the action we do, this will help to improve communication across cultures.
Secondly, understanding another person’s culture are able to change the ways of behaving. Since that we are grown up from different culture, our ways of behaving will be different and it may cause confusion even misunderstanding to each other. By understanding another person’s culture, we can reduce the problem of misunderstanding and it will improve communication with others culture.
Other than that, communicate with others culture is a tough challenge since that we are having different language, values, and belief. Some people may not interpret and understand what you said the way you want them to. Understanding other person’s culture will allow us to effectively communicate ideas and be sure everyone received the message that you expect them to listen. This will improve communication across cultures.
Last but not least, understanding another person’s culture will help us to make a lot of friend from other culture. There will be vary of culture in this planet, so that there will be different taboo in each culture. Communication across cultures will be improved if we understand their taboo, we will not use the forbidden word of the person’s culture when communicate with the person. This will allow us to build a good relationship with other culture’s people without offending their taboo.
Lastly, understanding another person’s culture will let you be interesting in learning their culture and gain some extra knowledge. People always have their attention on something that totally different from their lifestyle. When people are interest in other person’s culture, they will try to get close and be friend with people in the culture. Communication across culture will be improved if people start to have interest on other person’s culture, they will start to talk with each other in order to satisfy their curiosity.
In conclusion, people always make judgements on others people based on their own beliefs and values. A basic understanding about others person’s culture is the first step to improve communication across cultures, it is more important than ever to learn how to interact with a range of people from diverse of cultures and background.
E) The barriers that I face when communicating inter-culturally
In this culturally diverse world, people will encounter individuals from different races, religions and nationalities in their life. Culture diversity makes communication difficult as the mindset of people from different cultures were different and language, signs and symbols are also different. This might caused some unwanted prejudices or misunderstanding between different culture when interacting. First of all, language is one of the most common barriers that people face when communicating inter-culturally. Language is developed by different cultures as a part of their heritage and most of the people is comfortable speaking in their own language whereas need to put more efforts to learn a new language. For example, a foreigner tourist that can’t speak Japanese travels in Japan and the tourist will find it difficult to communicate with Japanese people since most of the local people in Japan don’t really understand and speak well in English. Even asking for direction, the tourist will be responded in Japanese or body language from the local people and might cause unsure of the accurate information. Secondly, barrier faced when communicating inter-culturally is sign and symbols (semantics). Non-verbal communication is not encouraged between people from different cultures because signs, symbols and gestures were different. Sometimes people are offended because of differences in signs, symbols, and gesture across cultures. For an example, the most common ‘thumbs up’ hand sign is widely recognised sign of approval or agreement but in Bangladesh ‘thumbs up’ used as an insult to others. Moreover, the barrier that we face when communicating inter-culturally is stereotypes and prejudices. Stereotype is a generalization about a person or a whole culture and assume people from the same culture have similar characteristics. It is a belief of about a certain cultures and usually negative. For an example, non-Muslim in the Western will had a negative portrayal about the Islam that they believe most of the Muslims is violence and related to terrorist as the terrified actions by the self-proclaimed Islamic State group, ISIS which allegedly shows videos of the beheadings of their prisoners who are more often journalists from different country. We need to overcome the barriers of communication across inter-culturally to avoid all the unpleasant misunderstanding between different cultures and to create a better and peaceful community around the world.