It is probably one of the biggest birthday celebrations around the world: with more than two billion disciples, almost a third of world’s population is likely to celebrate Christmas, the annual commemoration of the birth of Jesus. Albeit having its seed in religious belief, Christmas seemingly grew into a massive global shopping spree in winter, turning the ancient idea of gift giving into a commercial manifestation. However, there are still plenty of traditions celebrating this time of the year around the globe, as manifold and wondrous as the world itself…
The United States gets a bit of a bad wrap when it comes to its culinary style, but in truth, there are endless delicacies available everywhere you look. Sure, America loves its comfort foods, but who doesn’t? Unlike most countries of the world, the USA is just too damn big to have a set food style that ranges from the East coast to the West – although you can find a good pizza, sub sandwich, and burger just about anywhere). So, to really get to the bottom it all, you really have to look under a microscope to truly understand and appreciate what culinary wonders the U.S. boasts.
The streets are aligned with little makeshift stalls of shops and fruit wagons, and there are tens of thousands of people going here and there, and every which way. Everyone is speaking a different language, and some with a different dialect, and you begin to feel alone. You stick out like a sore-thumb, the shop keepers yell and taunt and tease, trying to entice you on their product – no, his product, or theirs, what about this one or his?! “My friend, my friend, cheap price, best price for you, my friend!” You continue forward and each step is labored, as it requires 100% concentration or else one mistaken step could send you falling to the ground or vice versa, tripping someone else. One step over a stack of wood boxes, another step off balanced, around a child, then a pause for a group of people who are crossing your path – and you’re inadvertently pushed into the middle of the stone path, and WOAH! STOP! A motorbike comes whizzing by, barely missing you.
You can learn a lot about a culture when you submerse yourself in it – I just finished up a week in Marrakech, Morocco and I have compiled a few need to knows for you, if you’re ever to visit as well.
I stayed only in Marrakech, but I’m sure that a lot of my findings and suggestions are still useful elsewhere in Morocco...
When you’re needing directions – which is inevitable – ask shop keepers, not the local bystanders, because they almost always will ask you to follow them, as they will show you. Then they will demand money from you. I learned this early on and even in knowing, it can be difficult to shake this aggressive behavior. I told one teenager that I had no money to give and he replied with a reassuring “no problem” and a smile, then when he got me half way to my destination – where I was still lost – he began demanding money. He was aggressive and in my face, pushing his open hand against me, while he spoke, “Give me money, give me money now.” I told him to shove off, because I told him I had none. But typically, I found that most people won’t be so aggressive, but they will be consistent. So, moral is: Ask a shop keeper.
Traveling the world is comparable to schooling, as you’re likely to learn countless lessons – however, the somewhat unfortunate part is that you will learn these lessons the hard way, and sometimes the hard way can cost you greatly. When you travel alone to a far away land, where you know no one and you speak no like-language, you’re left with only yourself – all preconceived judgements and stereotypes become washed away, because you’re vulnerable and you begin to see and have experiences that help you learn better.
Christmas is an annual celebration and remembrance of the birth of Jesus Christ. It's a widely observed holiday generally celebrated on December 25th by people all around the world. Some nations celebrate Christmas as a civil holiday, and nearly every culture has their own spin on their own holiday traditions. Most are quite normal and passive, and similar to others throughout the world, but there are a few who celebrate the holidays in more obscure ways, with unusual celebrations, wacky traditions and strange beliefs about those who give gifts.
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