Cultural Holidays

Every year, the Erasmus Diversity & Inclusion Office celebrates diversity by paying attention to the cultural, national and religious holidays as celebrated by people at our university. Below you will find interviews with employees and students who talk about the special meaning of a holiday for them.

Celebrating Differences

International Refugee Day

June 20th marks 'International Refugee Day'. Proclaimed by the United Nations, on this day, there is a worldwide focus on the plight of refugees to remind people to continue to look for solutions for the millions of refugees worldwide who are still looking for a better future.

It is very difficult for people with refugee status, including myself, to get in touch with local people. That’s a pity because we can learn so much from the Dutch people.
Shabnam Akbari
Participant Erasmus Preparatory Year
Read full interview about Shabnam Akbari on World Refugee Day

Ramadan

Ramadan is observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting. It lasts about 30 days. From dawn until sunset, Muslims fast and focus on doing good and charitable deeds.

During Ramadan, the fasting is not the hardest part, it is being away from my family.
Hana Taher
Student at the Erasmus University
Hana Taher about Ramadan about Ramadan

King's Day

King´s Day (27 April) is a national holiday in the Netherlands, marking the King’s birthday. All over the country, people take part in Koningsdag wearing orange or red, white and blue clothing, visiting flea markets (vrijmarkt), concerts and local gatherings.

I think many aspects of King’s Day represent diversity and inclusion at its finest.
Frederick Ntow
Senior Communications Advisor
Frederick Ntow about King's Day about King's Day

Celebrating Differences at Erasmus University Rotterdam

Rector Magnificus Rutger Engels talks about the importance of celebrating differences at the university. His opinion is that diversity enriches your life.

Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year, also known as Spring Festival, is one of the most important Chinese holidays. It's being celebrated from the first until the fifteenth day of the first month of the Chinese calendar.

Something that is typical to me about Chinese New Year are the red pockets. These are the small red envelopes with money, which you receive as kids from your parents. You put the envelope under your pillow when going to sleep and it will bring you luck for the coming year. 
Meiyee Chow
Student at Erasmus University Rotterdam
Meiyee Chow about Chinese New Year about Chinese New Year

Christmas

Christmas is a Christian holiday commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ. Its traditions vary from country to country. In many nations, people decorate a Christmas tree, there are Advent wreaths and Christmas stockings.

On Christmas Eve, we start dinner the moment we see the first star in the sky.
Veronika Norvaisaite
International Project Coordinator, Marketing & Communication (M&C)
Veronika about Christmas about Veronika about Christmas

Day of the Dead

Day of the dead, or Dia de Muertos in Spanish, is a Mexican holiday that focuses on gathering and praying for and remembering those who have died and support their spiritual journey. It is celebrated by creating altars (‘ofrenda’) for the dead and offering food.

At the Institute for Housing and Development Studies, I saw this beautiful ‘ofrenda’ created by Mexican students and it put a smile on my face.
Carina Bravo Plancarte, Recruitment Manager, Rotterdam School of Management
Read the full interview about Carina about the Day of the dead

Coming Out Day

Coming Out Day is an annual LGBTQ+ awareness day. It was founded in the United States in 1988 and is now observed globally to celebrate coming out and raise awareness about civil rights and oppressive views of society. Recently, “coming out” also expanded to gender identities.

To me, Coming Out Day is a day that raises awareness of people in the LGBTQ+ world and the need for them to feel able to be who they are.
Donovan Liauw
Student at Rotterdam School of Management
Read the full interview about Donovan about Coming Out Day

Moon Festival

The Moon Festival, or Mid-Autumn Festival, is a harvest festival celebrated by many people in Asia. It is held on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar during the full moon, when families come together to eat dinner and share Mooncakes.

The idea behind the Moon Festival is to celebrate that year’s harvests and show gratitude, but now, family reunion has become a central theme.
Ou Lin
Financial Policy Analyst, Corporate Planning & Control
Read the full interview about Ou Lin about Moon Festival

Raksha Bandhan

Raksha Bandhan is a Hindu festival that is celebrated annually, centred on the tying of a sacred thread around the wrist as a form of protection. This is usually performed by sisters on their brothers. Raksha Bandhan means the bond of protection, love or care.

On this day, we create a bond with someone, saying ‘I am determined to protect you’.
Dewi Ramdaras
Student at Rotterdam School of Management
Read full interview about Dewi about Raksha Bandhan

Ramadan

Ramadan is observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting. It lasts about 30 days. From dawn until sunset, Muslims fast and focus on doing good and charitable deeds.

Especially during Ramadan, it’s important to take the time to figure out how you can help people around you.
Hafida Sallouf
Student at Erasmus School of Law
Read the full interview about Hafida about Ramadan

Vappu

Vappu is a student festival, celebrated annually on 1 May. It marks the beginning of spring. It’s also celebrated as International Labour Day and is one of the biggest festivals of the year in Finland alongside Midsummer's Day and Christmas.

Three times a year, I return to Finland and one of those times is always 1 May 1st because I don’t want to miss Vappu.
Dr. Tim de Mey
Assistant Professor in Theoretical Philosophy, Erasmus School of Philosophy
Read the full interview about Dr. Tim de Mey

King's Day

King's Day (27 April) is a national holiday in the Netherlands, marking the King’s birthday. All over the country, people take part in Koningsdag wearing orange or red, white and blue clothing, visiting flea markets (vrijmarkt), concerts and local gatherings.

The wonderful thing about traditions is that they bring people together, make them proud of their community.
Welmer de Groot
Student at Erasmus Medical Center
Read the full interview about Welmer de Groot

Pesach

Pesach or Passover (Jewish Easter) is an ancient feast that originated in the history of the people of Israel, commemorating the exodus of the Jewish people from Egypt.

You’re supposed to lean back and enjoy the meal while considering the story and its meaning. In that regard, it’s quite a philosophical tradition.
Erin Chang
Student Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication
Read full interview about Erin Chang

Brazilian Carnival

Brazilian Carnival (9 Feb – 14 Feb 2018) is an annual festival, marking the beginning of Lent (40 days before Easter). Large and small parades crowd the streets for the public to watch or participate in. Carnival is the most famous holiday in Brazil.

You wear a costume all year, but during Carnival you dress the way you are.
Daniel Maciel Biato
Student at Rotterdam School of Management
Read full interview about Daniel about Brazilian Carnival

New Year's Day

New Year's Day (1 January) is the first day of the year on the modern Gregorian calendar and the most celebrated public holiday. The New Year is often greeted with fireworks. Other celebrations worldwide include parades, family time or annual dips in water.

A special New Year’s Eve for me was in Berlin at the turn of the millennium. Even though it was -10 °C and terribly cold, it was like everyone kept each other warm by being together.
Dr Chris Müller
Senior Lecturer Life Sciences
Read full interview about Dr Chris Müller about New Year

Festival of Breaking the Fast

Eid al Fitr, or the Festival of breaking the fast, is a major religious holiday celebrated by Muslims around the world. It marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting. It is marked by, amongst other things, family and social gatherings, traditional sweet dishes, feasting and gift giving.

For me, showing that we treat our elders with respect is one of the most important parts of Eid al Fitr.
Prof. dr. Semiha Denktas
Chief Diversity Officer & Head of Department of Social & Behavioral Sciences
Read full interview about Semiha about Festival of breaking the fast