Yesterday on January 6 which is 12 days after Christmas in the Gregorian calendar, we celebrated Epiphany. This marks not only the end of the Christmas holidays but also the start of the Carnival season, which climaxes with Mardi Gras. In some European countries such as the Czech Republic and Slovakia, children dress as the three kings and visit houses. In their roles as the kings, or wise men, they sing about the Jesus’ birth and pay homage to the “King of Kings”. They are rewarded with praise and cookies. Get ready now for the other global holidays such as Fat Tuesday which starts on February 9, 2016. This too is a global festival as ‘Mardi Gras’ in French means Fat Tuesday.
Now let’s get ready for Chinese New Year! It falls on the first day of the Chinese lunar calendar. Why is this important? If you do any work with clients in Asia it is important to know that this celebration takes people away from their offices and getting in touch with them will be difficult; similar to the week between Christmas and New Years in the states.
The date is different each year on the Gregorian calendar and this year it is February 7-13, 2016. It is a public holiday for Chinese and usually people have 7 consecutive days off from Chinese New Year’s Eve to the sixth day after Chinese New Year’s Day.
Every year I think about this celebration because it has become very popular around the world. In Southern California where I live The South Coast Plaza Shopping Center has one of the largest Chinese New Year Celebrations displayed. I have been in Singapore and in China during the Chinese New Year and always have fun celebrating in style.
Business is never one size fits all, but I am finding that all cultures are similar in many ways. Their history and celebrations are as important as ours and there is as much excitement and joy in this celebration. But the one big difference is how you educate yourself and your style according to the customers. Again, I spend a great deal of time outside of the US and have found it easier every year to work with people from all over the world because I am a curious learner and love to ask questions. I think too many business professionals try to be too ‘cool’ and act like a know-it-all and never really learn how to adapt their style.
In certain countries in Europe, prospects want to know a lot about you before moving forward. Be prepared to explain and validate your reasoning. Leave time for people to challenge you and debate – that shows they are interested. In Asia, the younger generation is less about saving face than their older counterparts, but still respect hierarchy. Pay attention to any client and their signals regardless of what part of the world you are working.
So with all these great festivities, I am getting ready to celebrate the year of the Monkey . It is my year and the symbol is in the fire group which is connected to red- it makes sense that I am a red hot Monkey! The monkey is associated with ambition, activity, smartness, mischief and adventure – so get ready 2016 because I am going to live up to your reputation of The Monkey. A few tips: The Monkey contains Metal and Water. Metal is connected to gold and water is connected to wisdom and danger. So this year we will be dealing with more financial events and if you want a good ROI for your money, you will need to outsmart the Monkey. Things will change very quickly and you should think before you leap when making changes in career, business or finance.
Enjoy all of these celebrations and have fun as we enter 2016!