In the United States, the seasonal shift from summer to autumn is an exciting time. While many are sad to say goodbye to the warm weather and abundant sunshine, the list of fun fall activities, like apple picking and pumpkin carving, are enough to keep us happy until after the holidays.
Assignees going abroad during this busy season might feel a bit homesick for colorful Autumn leaves and spooky Halloween decorations. Luckily, many countries around the world celebrate the coming of Autumn in their own fun and unique ways. If you’re sending employees overseas this fall, check out a few festivals around the world they can attend to get a taste of Autumn in their new home.
As one of the most well-known festivals in the world, Oktoberfest is not an event to pass up. If your assignees are living abroad in Europe, this 18-day Volksfest in Munich should be at the top of their Fall to-do list. Beginning in mid to late September, Oktoberfest is a celebration of Bavarian culture that attracts nearly 6 million visitors each year. Oktoberfest found its origin in 1810 as a celebration of King Ludwig and Princess Therese’s marriage. Five days after their wedding, King Ludwig hosted a festival in the streets of Munich with food, beer, performers and horse racing that has continued ever since.
Today, people come from all over the world to drink the famous Oktoberfest beer, brewed by legendary Bavarian beer makers, eat Weißwurst and wear traditional lederhosen. In addition to good food and drink, Oktoberfest attendees can spend time listening to traditional Bavarian music, chatting with locals in the area’s Bairisch dialect and enjoying carnival rides.
If your assignees are headed to Asia, visiting Munich for Oktoberfest might not be a possibility. Good thing there’s a similar fall festival held in many parts of southeast Asia! Each year, the Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated in China and Vietnam on the 15th day of the 8th month on the night of the full moon in the Chinese Han calendar. One of the most important Vietnamese holidays, the Mid-Autumn Festival has been celebrated since the times of the Shang Dynasty (16th century BCE). It began as a celebration paying homage to the moon and praying for a bountiful harvest. Today, the festival still celebrates the moon and the fall rice harvest, but it’s evolved to include parades, costume parties, games and special foods. Revelers celebrate by gathering in outdoor spaces to eat mooncakes, watch the moon, burn incense and perform dragon and lion dances.
Not interested in beer, mooncakes or dragon dances? Your assignee may be more interested in Chuseok. In South Korea, many people travel from their current homes in large cities to the towns of their family in order to pay respects to their ancestors. Chuseok, which is almost like the Korean version of Thanksgiving, is a time for families to gather and give thanks to their ancestors for a bountiful harvest. Visitors can take advantage of the festivities by eating traditional Korean food, like songpeyon, or playing a game of ssireum.
Chuseok is also a time of gift-giving. If your assignees are living and working in Korea, remind them that it’s customary to give friends, acquaintances and business associates a small gift of appreciation during this holiday. Many opt for choice cuts of beef, fruit and small gift sets.
While all of these autumn festivals are quite different from what Americans experience in the U.S., assignees can still partake in autumn celebrations all while absorbing another culture.
Looking for more help in getting assignees acclimated to their new home? Check out our HR Manager’s Guide to Global Relocation!