Givology Staff's Blog

Global Giving Traditions

Giving Tuesday, celebrated internationally on December 2nd, is a day dedicated to giving back to causes we believe in and celebrating generosity. To honor the day, Givology's #GivBack campaign donates $1 to a student or project for every picture of the contents of your backpack or purse posted on [url=https://twitter.com/givology]Twitter[/url], [url=https://www.facebook.com/Givology]Facebook[/url], or [url=http://instagram.com/givology]Instagram[/url] and tagged #GivBack. December 2nd is the last day to participate and help us reach our goal of 100 submissions. In the spirit of giving back, we're learning about the unique ways that people give throughout the world and the ways that we can incorporate giving in our own holiday traditions.
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[b]Vesak Day:[/b] This day celebrates the birth, enlightenment, and death of Buddha. In Korea, people offer gifts of money on Buddha's birthday. The money is used by the recipients to buy lanterns. According to Buddhist tradition, the lanterns fulfill wishes and honor ancestors. They're hung in temples and illuminate the night throughout villages and cities. In Singapore, people set caged birds free at night as a way of showing mutual respect between living creatures, and in India, people offer meals and clean drinking water to those in need and give alms to monks. [font='Times New Roman', serif] [/font]
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[b]Lunar New Year: [/b]Giving is an integral part of life, especially on days of celebration such as the Lunar New Year. In China the term “Baai nihn” refers to honoring the new year and celebrating by visiting friends and family and bringing gifts of food to share. "Laih sih" refers to the tradition of offering red envelopes with money to children on special occasions like the new year. The color red represents good luck. The day is also celebrated with parades and decorations.
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[b]Eid al Fitr[/b]: Muslims celebrate Eid al Fitr at the end of Ramadan, a period of prayer. The day is marked with festivities, lights, decorations, and time with family and friends. During this time, families practice "Zakaat Al Fitr," a term that refers to giving to others and making sure that everyone can honor the holiday at the end of Ramadan. People give food to those in need so that everyone has enough to eat on Eid and inequalities are minimized.

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[b]Kwanzaa:[/b] During Kwanzaa, an African American holiday, people spend a week honoring a different value, like faith and creativity, each day. On each day of Kwanzaa, people talk about the principle that they are honoring, share a unity cup, and light another candle. On the last day, which celebrates Imani, or faith, gifts are exchanged between friends and family members. The gifts, usually homemade, are a thoughtful a way to honor a common heritage.

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[b]Christmas:[/b] Christmas is a mainly Christian holiday celebrated throughout the world. In addition to spending time with family and friend, people often exchange gifts on Christmas. On Christmas eve, children impatiently await gifts from Santa Clause. Children in America receive gifts under an evergreen Christmas tree, while in Austria and Germany, kids await a visit from Christkind, a woman in a white robe, and in Ireland, kids leave pillow beds or stockings at the end of their bed to find filled with gifts the next morning.

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[b]Three Kings Day:[/b] In many Spanish speaking countries, children leave their shoes by the door along with shoeboxes filled with grass. On January 6th, they expect to find their shoes filled with treats and gifts and the grass eaten by the Wise Men's camels.
The most memorable words of Gandhi remind us that "You must be the change you wish to see in the world." By giving back, we all acknowledge how important our families, friends, and communities they are to us. Holiday traditions differ throughout the world, but the spirit of giving lies deeply ingrained in every culture. In the midst of new gifts of clothes and toys, finding a meaningful gift like a Givology giftcard helps us incorporate generosity and thoughtfulness into all of the holidays that we celebrate.

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