As I write this on December 1, 2017, I’m marking my 20 years in this industry, with this company – or some form of it, as there have been acquisitions and changes of ownership over the years. It feels like a significant milestone and, once I had my 20-oz cup of coffee, it got me thinking about how different anniversaries are celebrated around the world.
Wedding anniversaries traditionally have been associated with specific gifts for certain years, and can vary depending on the country. For example, paper is given the first year, wood for the fifth, tin for the 10th, china for the 20th, silver for the 25th, gold for the 50th, and diamond for the 75th.
While individuals may celebrate couplehood, nations often mark the anniversary of their separation from another.
Most countries have their own national day, when they celebrate a significant event such as independence or pay homage to a founder. Some of the best known are Bastille Day in France, dating from July 14, 1789; Independence Day in the U.S., from July 4, 1776; and St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland on March 17, observed since the 1600’s but officially made a holiday in 1903.
Others commemorate freedoms more recently won, such as Madagascar’s independence from France in 1960, remembered every June 26, and Angola’s independence from Portugal in 1976, marked each November 11.
Sometimes anniversaries become sparks for new milestones. The 1989 Velvet Revolution was a series of peaceful protests in Czechoslovakia that began on the 50th anniversary of a November 17th student demonstration during Nazi occupation. Two weeks later the oppressive Communist government had fallen, and a democratic presidential election was held in 1990 – the first in 44 years.
So while actual independence (in 1918) is celebrated on October 28, Czechs also mark Freedom and Democracy Day on November 17 in honor of the students who demonstrated both in 1939 and 1989.
Anniversaries mark everything from the lightheartedness of a couple’s first date to the somber recognition of a nation’s struggles. For a look at things that fall somewhere in between, see This Day in History to find out what literary, Hollywood, industrial, sports, or other historical events happened today.
On a personal note, thank you to all the wonderful people in Global Mobility who make working in this industry a joy. Your knowledge, generosity, hard work, and interesting stories have made the past 20 years fly by!