Most of us have grown accustomed to the same old boring public holidays. There’s labor day, memorial day, and even the Easter holidays. Each are significant and important, but in many ways they’re a little dull.
Unfortunately, it’s the dull holidays that seem best suited to commemoration. The card industry has narrowed our holiday interests down to a very select sample of holidays. While ecards are doing their best to buck the oh-so-dull trend with their new personalised cards, it’s not always an easy fight to win.
That’s why we’ve gone out of our way to find the most exciting, interesting, and international holidays out there. From European political dates to cool Asian water festivals, these ten holidays are unlikely to be found on the Hallmark shelf, of even on an ecard website.
50,000 participants, 150,000 tomatoes, and 5 days of absolute mayhem. La Tomatina is an official week-long holiday in the small Spanish town of Buñol. Tourists from all over Spain, and Europe in general, flock to the Valencia region to enjoy a five-day food fight.
While completely unobserved outside of Spain, worldwide citizens with Valencian history enjoy the exciting culture and unabashed fun of La Tomatina worldwide. Stuck for ideas on how to celebrate with a Spanish friend or relative? Create a custom tomato-red ecard and send it their way.
Diwali is one of India’s biggest national holidays. A five-day Hindu festival, Diwali celebrates the return of Lord Rama, giving Indians all across the subcontinent reason to celebrate by releasing lamps and floating lanterns into the nation’s many streams, lakes, and waterways.
Much like the Chinese New Year, Diwali is a holiday that’s celebrated worldwide. Little India’s across the world join in celebration by planting special lights and decorations – Singapore’s Indian district celebrates with a two kilometer stretch of neon lights and impressive decorations.
The Thai New Year celebrations, known as ‘Songkran’ within Thailand, are doubtlessly one of the most entertaining and exciting celebrations of any country worldwide. A three-day national water-fight, Songkran brings Thailand’s elders, children, and working adults out into the street, armed with water pistols, large buckets, and plenty of water balloons.
Of course, Songkran’s fun celebrations are rooted in some serious tradition. Monks and other Buddhist figures see the water celebrations as a cleansing of past mistakes and events – dashing water on a monk is considered an important way to show respect and understanding.
Japan is well-known for their strange traditions, and Hadaka Matsuri has got to be at the top of the heap when it comes to downright weird behavior. To celebrate Hadaka Matsuri, young men across the Japanese nation strip down to their underwear, and enjoy public dances, weird competitions, and some ultra-bizarre events.
The partial nudity might seem strange to international observers, but it’s really rooted in Japanese tradition. Hadaka Matsuri celebrates a cleansing-type event – participants strip down to their underwear to rid themselves of unwanted energy, and absorb the bad luck of other people.
Chinese New Year
How many holidays involve over two weeks of celebration? While the Western New Year is a slightly boring one-day affair, the Chinese New Year covers fifteen days of commemoration and celebration, including numerous parades and public ceremonies.
Chinese populations across the world celebrate the New Year by purchasing gifts, cleaning their homes, and enjoying time with their families. Despite being a single-country holiday, Chinese New Year is widely celebrated – walk into any Chinatown district worldwide and you’ll be greeted with parade floats, excellent traditional food, and of course, Chinese fireworks.
Australia Day attracts occasional controversy in Australia, but for most it’s a day of rest, family, and some serious parties. The giant southern continent is known for its party hard attitude, and Australia day is far from an exception.
However, there’s some real tradition behind Australia Day. Citizens stop to commemorate the landing of ships in Sydney harbor, and to appreciate the progress that’s been made since. Amazingly, this is one holiday you can find an ecard for – provided you’re searching with Google Australia.
Cinco De Mayo
Amazingly, many Americans still think of Cinco De Mayo as Mexico’s day of independence. While the holiday isn’t quite that significant, it’s still a major holiday on the north Mexican national calendar. While ceremonies in Mexico are firmly traditional, the day attracts some serious attention across the United States.
That’s right – this is one holiday that’s celebrated more impressively internationally than on its home soil. Street parties, Mexican-themed celebrations, and traditional Mexican cook-offs are all commonplace on Cinco De Mayo, along with some serious tequila drinking.
Canada’s national holiday might not be as colorful or interesting as its Thai and Mexican counterparts, but it’s still cause for celebration for millions of Canadians. Celebrations in Canada generally consist of patriotic displays, while international efforts range from day-long hockey games to the annual ‘Canada D’eh’ ceremonies in Hong Kong.
Aimed at fostering unity amongst EU states and European citizens, Europe Day is a relatively new holiday next to most. First celebrated in 1985, the EU-wide holiday doesn’t give workers a day to rest, or even children a day home from school. Instead, it aims to bring unity throughout Europe by celebrating mixed culture and the achievements of the continent.
However, euro-skepticism from a number of EU states has stopped Europe Day from becoming an EU-wide major holiday. While it’s unlikely you’ll find a good ecard for Europe Day, it is possible you’ll see a set of mixed flags outside of schools, public offices, and government buildings.
Day of the Dead
Mexico’s annual Day of the Dead (El Día de los Muertos) is considered a day of remembrance and family. While slightly grim when compared to Mexico’s other major international holiday (Cinco De Mayo) the Day of the Dead is still an important holiday for Latin Americans.
Best of luck finding an ecard to suit this holiday. While the old George Romero poster might raise a few courageous laughs, it’s unlikely to bring a smile to this grim holiday. Throughout Latin America, El Día de los Muertos is used as an opportunity to visit graveyards and churches.