The national holiday experiences can be quite different in different parts of the world. This is not hard to understand because countries can be quite different in terms of cultures, belief systems, and traditions. Frequent travelers are well aware of the vast lifestyle and cultural differences between some countries. When people think about holidays in different parts of the world, they basically want to have diverse experiences. Thus, most people want to experience different things when celebrating holidays away from home. If holiday experiences were same everywhere, there would be little incentive to travel abroad. This essay compares and contrasts the holidays in Kuwait and the U.S. to show that the experiences can be quite different, depending upon the country.
Kuwait and the U.S. are located in quite different regions. The U.S. is considered a western country while Kuwait is considered an eastern country. This distinction seems geographic in nature but it has also gained other perceptions. Today, a western country is usually considered more advanced in terms of economic development and quality of life as compared to an eastern country (Chang et al., 99). Thus, the comparison between the U.S. and Kuwait will take these perceptions into account as well.
Americans have lot of options when it comes to celebrating their national holiday on July 4. This advantage also comes from the huge size of the U.S. The country has fifty states and most states have at least something to offer to tourists whether beaches, museums, entertainment parks, memorial libraries, game parks, or skiing destinations. On the other hands, Kuwaitis have very limited options when it comes to celebrating their national day on February 25 and 26 because Kuwait is a very small country. Three of the most popular tourist destinations where many Kuwaitis go to celebrate national holidays are Al-Sha’ab Leisure Park, Green Island and Messila Beach.
Americans celebrate their national day in July which comes five months later than Kuwait’s national days in February. But the weather is quite similar in both Kuwait and U.S. during their national holidays because July is usually summer in the U.S. and Kuwait has warm days all year round. As a result, there are some similarities between how people in two countries celebrate national days. These similarities include going out to parks and having fireworks at night. Just like the U.S. where there are certain places popular for fireworks such as Disneyland in Florida, there are also places in Kuwait where people specifically go to watch fireworks.
In America, it is hard to tell from the dresses people are wearing whether it is national holiday or not. Most people are in the dress they wear normally though some may be wearing a t-shirt with American flag or bald eagle or both. Even though almost everyone has a car in America, we rarely see American flags on the car. In contrast, people prepare special dresses for celebrating national holiday in Kuwait. These dresses are usually in the colors of Kuwaiti flag. Similarly, people also decorate their cars with Kuwaiti flags. National and private buildings are also decorated with national flags in Kuwait on national day but one doesn’t usually see such decorations on buildings in the U.S. In the U.S., building decorations is usually seen on Christmas Eve but not on national holiday.
Many Americans celebrate national holiday with their friends and very few go to visit their families unless they are already home from college or on vacation. But Kuwaitis mostly celebrate the national holidays with their families. This is also due to the cultural difference. When Americans become adult, they usually become independent and develop new social networks. In Kuwait, family ties are more traditional and everyone is expected to be together on religious and national holidays. Americans also get together with families on some holidays such as Christmas and Thanksgiving but not very often on national holidays if they are far away from home. Thus, the company of friends is usually more common on the national holiday in the U.S. while the company of family is more important on national holidays in Kuwait.
Even though both Americans and Kuwaitis eat good food on their national holidays, they arrange for the food in different ways. Many Americans go outside to eat such as in a restaurant or they may attend a local festival where there are food options, too. In contrast, Kuwaitis like to make special food items on national holidays and they also like to invite important guests such as relatives and family friends.
The TV programs are also quite different in both countries on national holidays. Americans have access to many more TV channels than Kuwaitis who have very limited options and many TV channels are owned by the Kuwaiti Government. The schedule on American channels change very little on national holiday. There may be few movies and TV shows related to national day but most of the programs are regular broadcasts. In contrast, the TV shows, movies, and programs are almost entirely dedicated to the national holidays in Kuwait. The message is usually that of national unity and pride.
Kuwait and U.S. have quite different cultures and geographical size, thus, the people in both countries share both similarities and differences in celebrating their national holidays. Clear weather, food, and fireworks are part of national holidays in both countries. But it is easier to tell national holiday in Kuwait because people are specially dressed up for the national day and they also decorate their cars and buildings. In contrast, very few Americans put flag on their cars and very few buildings are decorated in national colors or flags on national holiday in America. While Americans often spend national holiday with friends, the focus is on family and relatives in Kuwait. Similarly, TV schedule is little changed in America but it is almost entirely dedicated to national holiday in Kuwait.
- Chang, Lei, Mak, Miranda C. K., Wu, Bao Pei, Lu, Hui Jing and Chen, Bin Bin. “Cultural
Adaptations to Environmental Variability: An Evolutionary Account of East–West Differences.” Educational Psychology Review, 23.1 (2011): 99-129