Adopting traditions

Today, 12 days after Christmas, we celebrate Epiphany – or Three Kings Day, or the Twelfth Day – the day baby Jesus was presented to the three wise men. It is a public holiday in many countries.  As expats, we have adopted the tradition of the galette des rois – King cake – a French tradition […]

One Word for 2014

So Christmas is over, and we’re fast heading towards the New Year, with its cremant and fireworks and resolutions… Yes, New Year’s Resolutions. I could almost hear the collective sigh go up as I wrote that. Each year we make determined (perhaps) commitments to eat better, exercise more, spend more time with the family, be […]

Lussevaka – an ancient Swedish tradition

Lucia is celebrated since more than 700 years on December 13 in Sweden. Maybe you heard about the young girl with candles in her hair that traditionally not only brings light but also breakfast? But where does it all come from and why is it named after an Italian Saint? Lucia or Lussinatta – the […]


Today is Thanksgiving in the United States. Although the Thanksgiving that took place in 1621 is generally considered the first one, it wasn’t until 1863 that President Abraham Lincoln declared a national holiday for giving thanks. Nowadays, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. Celebrating Thanksgiving The traditional reason to celebrate Thanksgiving is […]

Let’s hear it for Monaco!

Today we celebrate a country way tinier than little Luxembourg. It’s the national day of a country of fast cars, few taxes and a mythical royal family – Monaco.

Toussaint – All Saints’ Day

Many of you will get a day off work this Friday, or maybe your partner will, and perhaps it’s another of those mysterious public holidays beginning with A that you’re not really sure what it’s all about. Well, yes, there’s Halloween the night before for our American readers and anyone else who’s claimed that tradition […]

Let’s hear it for the Czech Republic!

Today is the Independent Czechoslovak State Day, commemorating the day when the state of Czechoslovakia declared independence from the Austro-Hungarian empire at the end of World War I, in a bloodless revolution in Prague. It’s worth noticing that even though 20 years ago this year, Czechoslovakia split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia, the Czechs […]

Let’s hear it for Spain!

Today is the Fiesta Nacional de España (sounds a lot better in Spanish, doesn’t it?). There’s a very historical reason why it is celebrated today; it commemorates the anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ first arrival in the Americas, on October 12 1492.

Let’s hear it for Germany!

Most of us probably have some kind of memory of the time when East- and West-Germany was reunited. In November 1989 – when the “Berliner Mauer” came down – the whole world was watching. Less than a year later, on October 3 1990, the two sides were finally officially one again. The regions; Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, […]

Autumn Equinox – balance between light and dark

This Saturday is the Autumn Equinox. I started marking the seasonal changes a few years ago. It started out just as a mark in my diary, my own thoughts to keep me company on these little-remembered dates. I’d wash the windows for the Spring Equinox, to remind myself to clean back the cobwebs in my […]