The importance of cultures and why we should study them

While cultural studies are somewhat complex and can hardly be explained in a few paragraphs, we will give our best to tell you why it’s essential. Learning about other cultures can be both beneficial and fun, no matter how much time you spend on it. Our world is full of diversity, and although our own cultures impact us the most, there is a whole spectre of cultures out there that are worth exploring.

Cultural Studies Open Your Mind

Spending too much time with a limited amount of interests can make you close-minded. This can create a dose of animosity towards other people and their cultures. By giving yourself a chance to learn about other societies and their behavior, you are more likely to accept their way of living rather than judging it. If more people were to participate in cultural studies, it would lead to the rising of global awareness, which will create only positive results.

Studying Cultures Can be Fun

Not a lot of people associate studying with fun, but cultural studies can, in fact, be very amusing. Learning about other cultures may provide you with a lot of interesting facts. You might learn stuff you never knew existed. In effect, this can create additional curiosity and the desire to learn more about each subject. Even if you don’t find cultural studies that interesting, you will still get a chance to learn something new.

Learning by Travelling

Studying about cultures does not necessarily involve book reading. Maybe the best way to learn about other cultures is to be right on the spot. You may read about different customs and traditions in great detail, but until you are there to witness them, you won’t be able to experience them properly.

Traveling can help you to understand other cultures better and appreciate them. Speaking to a person from a foreign country about their customs and traditions is probably the best way to learn about this. More so, you can share a thing or two about your culture during the conversation as well.

Conclusion

Studying about cultures opens up a whole new horizon. Apart from being educational, cultural studies create the feel of appreciation towards other ethnicities. On top of that, you can learn about it just by going to different places and seeing the world for yourself.

Can Cultures Be Changed

We often think of cultures as fixed and invariable pieces of a nation’s identity. Even though we live in the 21st century, a lot of our customs and traditions date back to past millennia. The cultures regularly went through changes over the centuries, and they are even changing as we speak. So, yes, cultures can be changed. We will discuss what are the causes of cultural changes and their processes.

Technology

Technology, or better yet, inventions, have caused tremendous changes in how we live. The industrial revolution turned the world upside down and created a whole new way of production, thus impacting our economy, politics, environment, and more. The invention of devices like the telephone changed the way we communicate and how we do business with each other. The same can be said for transportation, as airplanes gave us an opportunity to easily travel to far away places and meet cultures that are different from our own. The advancement in medicine created greater longevity among all people and changed the way we manage our lifetime.

Non-material

While discoveries in the field of technology may have had the most significant impact on the cultural changes around the globe, the same can easily be said for non-material findings. In the past several centuries, education has become available to the vast majority of people in the world, thus creating a more knowledgeable population. The progress in social issues, like women rights and racial segregation, has also changed the way we live and treat each other. Although we discussed medicine in the technology part, the expansion of knowledge in nutrition altered the way we eat and prepare food.

Cultural Diffusion

In today’s world, almost every finding is only a few clicks away from us. We may not realize it, but the information we receive over the internet and television largely impacts our societies. People now have the opportunity to learn about other cultures more efficiently than ever before. Only a few decades ago, many cultures remained closed from us, as we lacked in sources to diffuse them. Even our own national traits couldn’t be spread around so quickly to other parts of the world. We can say with certainty that cultural diffusion today is at its peak in history.

Conclusion

Cultures are changing, and they will likely never stop changing. In fact, this will lead to many customs and traditions to die out. However, this process will create new intellectual achievements to replace them. Although many cultures still remain unique to a certain degree, culture is something that will continuously go through shifts, more for the better than for worse.

Breathtaking festivals and important holidays worth traveling for

Holiday is a day of a specific cultural and religious significance for many individuals, governments and religious groups. If you’re a party animal, there are some holidays and festivals around the world that you just need to participate in at least once.

Burning Man festival

Burning Man is deemed as a cultural movement or a community, rather than a festival, but nevertheless, it is a spectacle where thousands of people gather in the Nevada desert to express their individuality and create art. People gather in the desert to create a Black Rock City, an imaginary metropolis dedicated to self-expression and radical self-reliance.  

The purpose of this annual event is to connect individuals to their creative powers and to create a world of nature that exists beyond society. It is supposed to produce positive spiritual vibrations, and people who have attended these gatherings have claimed that it was a truly unique experience. The name of the event came from the ritual burning of a huge wooden effigy, which occurs on a Saturday evening.

The only way to acquire goods and services is to trade with other people. Traditional vehicles are banned from the event, and people use art cars for transport.

The White Nights Festival

Every year the city of St. Petersburg becomes the stomping ground for visitors around the world who come to the event to witness the city’s cultural richness under the never-setting sun. White Nights is a natural phenomenon that occurs around both poles during the summer months. Although many countries celebrate the summer solstice in their own way, the former Russian capital takes the celebration one step further.

The festival brings together culture, arts, and music, as the streets of St. Petersburg come alive with showcases by some of the world’s most talented artists. Visitors can enjoy a month-long calendar of classical music performances and concerts held at the esteemed Mariinsky Theatre.

During the event, tourists can visit some of the St. Petersburg’s most elite museums and art galleries. The culminating event is the Scarlet Sails celebration, known for the spectacular fireworks display. This part of the tradition began after WWII when schools assembled to celebrate the end of the school year.

Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the dead)

Dia de Los Muertos is a holiday that originated in central Mexico and is celebrated around the world in other cultures. Families unite believing that the souls of all family members who have died will come down from heaven to reunite with their loved ones.  Families make colorful altars, decorated with flowers, to honor their loved ones.

The festivity begins at the cemetery, where families gather to celebrate the lives of ones who are no longer with us. They play music and bring favorite dishes of the dearly departed to share the celebration with them. On this day, families try to include the dead in the recognition as they are awakened from their eternal sleep to celebrate with their loved ones.

How Culture Affects Business

The expression “money talks” suggests that the monetary aspect is the single most important aspect of doing good business. To be honest, this is true, since money can break the language barrier between two businessmen from different parts of the world. It’s a language of its own as it’s more about numbers than anything else. However, there are numerous other factors you should consider when meeting a potential business client. Culture and business are connected in more than a few ways, and here we will take a look at how exactly businesses get affected by culture.

Communication

When we say communication, we don’t necessarily mean talking. Some findings suggest that facial expressions and body language are far more important than speaking during a business meeting. While revealing the emotions on your face will probably be easily understood regardless of the culture, some aspects of your expressions might not. Eye-contact is considered positive during a business encounter in the USA, but some other cultures might find it uncomfortable. Touching while greeting is fairly common in Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, and some parts of Africa. However, some Asian countries avoid any physical contact during the introduction. Talking casually about religion or politics might be a little touchy, so it’s best to avoid it. Different cultures have different senses of humor, so don’t expect everybody to laugh at a particular joke. Try to learn at least a few words from a language of your foreign associates, like “hello,” “thank you,” or “you’re welcome.” Make sure to know the traditions and holidays of the countries you are doing business with.

Clothing

When it comes to clothes, you should probably keep it simple. The suits are accepted almost everywhere, so you can’t go wrong with that. Some countries expect you to dress up, and this can mean that wearing a tie is mandatory. Other cultures are more flexible when it comes to clothing. Many companies in America have a weekday when they can go to work in their casual clothes. Try to avoid dressing like a business person from a country you’re visiting, since it may come off as offensive. Represent your own culture, and you will be respected.

Lunches and Dinners

Business meetings do not necessarily take place in an office. It is quite common for you and your associates to go to lunch or dinner. This is where a lot of cultures differ, whether in terms of how and what they eat, or in which order. If you are sitting at a table in a foreign country, you should observe how the locals eat their food, but be subtle and don’t stare. In some cultures, paying for the bill as a host is considered respectful, while others might be offended by such a gesture. For example, Germans like to split the bill and pay for what they each ordered. In North America, it’s practically a rule not to let a client anywhere near the receipt. Always try the local cuisine, and even if you don’t like it, you should at least have a bite.

When it comes to drinking, you should be careful as to where you are. Some Muslim countries forbid alcoholic beverages. If you are in Japan and Korea, you should fill everyone’s glasses, but let another person fill your own. Avoid controversial subjects and try not to be loud or to get drunk.

Fun and unique ideas for kids you can use for Culture Day activities

Culture day is a day when students, parents, and teachers try to create, celebrate, and participate in artistic and cultural events in their communities. The goal of the Culture Day is to raise students’ accessibility, awareness, and partnership so they could develop into well-rounded individuals one day, and learn about the diverse world in which they live.

Hundreds of volunteer groups at the national and provincial level support thousands of artists, cultural workers, organizations and groups in hosting free participatory public activities, which take place in cities and towns across hundreds of countries in the world.  

Thousands of activities are registered each year at the official website of Culture Days as they try to catalyze and inspire great public participation in the arts and cultural life of our communities. These activities are centered around different cultural practices, and they help youth appreciate their peers and broaden their horizons. Here are some ideas how to celebrate Culture Day with your kids:

Druid toilet paper roll craft

A druid was a religious leader in the Celtic areas, from about 1500 BC to somewhere around 50 AD. Druids were doctors, judges, and lawmakers in real life. Here are the materials you need for a simple three-dimensional druid:

  •         Toilet paper roll or cardboard tube
  •         Something to color with
  •         Scissors
  •         Glue
  •         Paper
  •         Printer

Instructions:

  •         First print out the craft template of choice (since druids were both male and female), then cut out the template pieces.
  •         Glue the large rectangular piece on so you can cover the tube, but pay attention that

the slightly larger part is at the top (a dress or a robe).

  •         Glue the head and arms of the toilet paper roll.  
  •         Fold the tabs on the feet and glue them inside to create a perfect 3D effect.
  •         Fold the cloak in half and glue the two pieces and color it on both sides.

Make a Chinese New Year Crown or Hat

Make a simple construction paper “hat” the kids will have tons of fun creating, decorating, and they will certainly enjoy wearing it. You can decorate it with paper flowers, but you can also use stickers, markers, or gel pens instead. For material you need:

  •         Red construction paper
  •         2 gold pipe cleaners
  •         Pencil
  •         Scissors
  •         Tape
  •         Printer
  •         Paper
  •         Gold tissue paper
  •         Gold thread

The instructions:

  •         Print a template and color it if necessary.
  •         Cut out the template pieces
  •         Tape the pieces end to end to make a long bit
  •         Wrap around child’s head and trim of the excess
  •         Wrap the pipe cleaner around a pencil so you can make a “spring” with it
  •         Repeat with the other pipe cleaner
  •         Tape both pipe cleaners for the long piece of construction paper so they stay in front of the head
  •         Tape the paper ends together and put it on

 

Fun holidays and festivals around the globe

A wide variety of multinational holidays and festivals are celebrated around the world every year, whether within specific regions, cultures, or ethnic groups. There are some unique and fabulous celebrations which are famous for gathering a large group of people around the world.

Regardless of the cultural and religious differences, there is one thing that every person on the planet has in common- the desire to celebrate. Whether you’re celebrating winning some crash thanks to a piece you’ve read on learning Craps or how to bet on your favorite team using one of the best sports betting apps, holidays, celebrations and festivals have always been an important part of the human tradition and it usually represents a way to commemorate the spiritual world while bonding with your family and friends.

The Rio de Janeiro Carnival-Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The Rio de Janeiro carnival is considered as one of biggest carnivals in the world with more than two million people roaming the streets daily during the event. This celebration of enormous proportions takes place 7 weeks before Easter and officially lasts for four days, but the street parade usually stretches on the streets for more than two weeks. The festival attracts millions of people around the world who come to witness the passionate determination of samba schools under the sunny capital of Brazil.  

The famous carnival has its roots in the ancient Roman Empire, where it was a pagan celebration, performed as a form of a tribute to the gods. After a while, the festival was transformed into “Carne Vale”, which means purification of the body and detachment of all bodily pleasures. Nowadays, it is a gigantic party where ordinary people go out on the street and dance while covering their faces with masks.  

Throughout the years, the carnival has dissolved all social differences, so, today everyone, regardless of the financial stature and religion, come to the carnival to participate in the exploding rhythms of samba dance and enjoy various parades.

Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year is a world-famous holiday celebrated by more than 20% of the world population. It is the most important day in China where this holiday is also called the Spring Festival or Chunjie, and it represents the end of the coldest days. People welcome the spring as it represents a fresh start and a new beginning. The holiday is also called the Lunar New Year because it goes according to the lunar calendar, and is also celebrated in North and South Korea, and Vietnam.

The Chinese New Year is a spiritual way to pay tribute to gods and pray for a good planting and harvest season. One particularly interesting fact is that this is the time where most fireworks are set off in the world, and its purpose is to scare off the mythical monster Nian and bad luck.

The Chinese New Year is the holiday that causes the most massive human migration in the world as millions of Chinese people come home for the family reunion, which is the most essential part of the holiday.

Boryeong Mud Festival-South Korea

Mud festival is one of the most entertaining festivals in the world as thousands of people gather in the Korean peninsula to celebrate ice fishing, bullfighting, body painting, and a wide variety of fun-packed activities.  Boryeong Mud Festival is particularly unique because it is packed with amusing mud-themed activities. There are numerous recreational activities perfect for families as you can enjoy making mud figures or getting a mud massage.

Elements that make up a group culture

Groups of people tend to expand their culture over time, based on their knowledge, beliefs, and behavior of their group members. A group culture represents that unity people create when working together and with the same goals in mind. Shared beliefs are at the core of such communities and groups like that can thrive when mutual understanding and cohesion are at play.

What is culture?

The concept of culture is very difficult to pin down because there are too many variants. For a while, Japan was considered to be one of the most homogenous nations on Earth. However, the activity of many young Japanese and the emergence of sub-groupings tell us differently, so we are starting to doubt that idea.

Culture consists of the things people have, the things they do, and what they think, at least according to Herskovits. Members of a cultural group develop and maintain their group culture through mutual interaction, but culture is not only about interaction, but also about content and mutual cooperation.

Common expectations

Expectations have a significant impact on shaping a group culture, as they influence our efforts related to the accomplishments and desired outcomes from our teaching. In this way, expectations act like a compass that keeps us moving towards our goal. Expectations operate as “belief sets” which is a tad different from the way teachers usually think of expectations.

Language as a tool of communication

A language is a primary tool in a system of communication, and it helps communities to negotiate shared meanings and understand ideas and actions. It is perhaps the key element in shaping a group culture as it helps us to direct attention and action. Words and structures that make up a language have the power to create connections and associations that shape and influence our behavior. Language has that subtle ability to carry messages that develop our thinking and group affinity.

Environment is important

Environment presents a physical space occupied by a group, which includes its design, setup, displays, and furnishings. It is the “body language” of a cultural organization that shares values and key messages, even when its habitats are absent. For example, school , as a physical environment, will dictate how students (individuals) interact with each other, how they behave, and create.

Routines shape our culture

Routines are a group’s way of doing things, a set of shared practices. They are the foundation of classrooms because they guide activities that happen there. Whether routines are used for participation, discourse, learning, or thinking, their purpose is to simplify things, and minimize the confusion. Routines serve as patterns for groups and individuals and serve as a scaffolding for learning and thinking.