Holidays Around the World is EPCOT’s celebration of holiday customs around the globe. It’s a beautiful opportunity to experience traditions from the various cultures represented in World Showcase.
While Holidays Around the World encompasses a few other events (including the Candlelight Processional and a special holiday version of the Illuminations Fireworks Spectacular), I thought I’d focus on an event I experienced for the first time this year, which I enjoyed even more than I’d anticipated: the International Storytellers in each World Showcase Pavilion, sharing the stories, music, and customs of the people of each country represented.
I haven’t yet heard all of the Storytellers, so this one is officially still “In Progress,” but I thought I’d share the countries I’ve visited so far :). If you’re interested in reading the full descriptions of the traditions provided by EPCOT, just click to enlarge any of the photos of the “scrolls” for each country!
In France, Père Noël (Father Christmas) shares a letter he received from a little girl named Babette expressing her holiday wishes, and shares some of the beautiful ways her family celebrates Christmas.
In Japan, the biggest annual celebration is the New Year. Oshogatsu lasts for three days, and is a time for family, friends, and food (sounds familiar :)! Our Japanese Storyteller shared the custom of the Daruma doll. The Daruma can’t be knocked over – he always lands upright, and he serves as a reminder of persistence and of a common Japanese saying (written here in English): “Knocked down seven times, get up eight!”
The American Adventure Pavilion showcases the three most commonly celebrated holiday traditions in America: Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa. So far, I’ve listened to the Kwanzaa Storyteller, sharing the Seven Pillars of Kwanzaa through a beautiful presentation of song and story: Unity, Self-Determination, the Sharing of Work, the Sharing of Wealth, Purpose, Creativity, and Faith.