[Meeting the World] Hyosung Employees Introduce Thai, Brazilian and Indian Festivals and Luxembourg매거진/Webzine(English) 2014.03.21 15:29
As a Buddhist country, Thailand holds a Buddhist festival ‘Makha Bucha’ on the 15th day of the New Year according to the lunar calendar. It is translated as ‘Manbuljeol’ in Korean. The word ‘Bucha’ derives from the Sanskrit ‘pujana,’ meaning “to venerate,” “to honor” and “to provide.” It celebrates the day when Buddha predicted to 1,250 of his students who gathered in the Zhu-Lin Temple of Rajagr ha that he will enter Nirvana 3 months later in his Buddhist sermon. On this day, Buddhists in Thailand present offerings to Buddhist monks and release captive animals. This means they are buying live fish, birds and animals caught by others and setting them free in the mountains or ponds, and this act originates from recommendation of actively doing good deeds.
When the sun begins to set, Buddhist temples in various places of Thailand as well as neighboring countries all recite the <Ovadha Patimakkha> scriptures in Basa Bali, and Buddhists kneel down to listen to the monks preaching. At night the monks circle around the temple three times, each holding a candle. The participants hold flowers, incense sticks and lit-up candles in a ceremony paying respect to Buddha’s teaching and his 1,250 students.
All bars and clubs are closed on the Makha Bucha Day in Thailand, and sale of alcohol is prohibited in restaurants and convenience stores. Those who violate the rules are sentenced to as long as 6 months of imprisonment or fined as much as 10,000 bahts, which shows how meaningful this day is for Thai people. Note that it is partially allowed in hotels.
Every February, things are hectic in Brazil in preparation to greet the whole world to the greatest show on earth: the Carnival. The Carnival takes place in Brazil every year from late February to early March for four days, starting on Saturday night until early Wednesday morning all day and night. In particular, the Rio Carnival held in Rio de Janeiro is matchless in terms of scale and splendor. The centerpiece of the Carnival is undoubtedly the samba parade. Dancers and a big band playing percussion instruments march down the Sambódromo designed for the samba parade, which accommodates over 60,000 people. This year the samba parade will have the theme of the World Cup Brazil.
The Brazilian government declared the Carnival period a national holiday so that the entire nation can enjoy the festival, which indicates how much the Brazilians love the Carnival. The event begins as the mayor presents the gold key to King Momo of the Carnival, handing over the sovereignty for three days. Sixteen teams that passed the preliminaries are armed with splendid costumes, parade cars and exciting samba music. Each team consists of 3,000 to 5,000 members. Hotels in the neighborhood where the samba parade passes by are fully booked during this period, and it is difficult to get tickets for the show. So those who want to experience the samba festival in Brazil must bustle around early in the morning.
There are many immigrants and people from many different ethnicities in Brazil, so the country is not hostile to foreigners. Brazilians value long-established trust in business, so merely selling something at a low price will not lead to continuous transaction. This is why the market cannot be easily entered by latecomers. In this sense, the Brazil Spandex Division showed incredible power in that it increased its market share in just two years since the plant was established. Public offices and hospitals in Brazil tend to be laid-back, so working in a Korean-style schedule may result in a fiasco. Note that it is safer to secure enough time in dealing with important documents.
Well known for its long history and rich tradition, India also has a great variety of festivals. All kinds of festivals take place in each region almost every day in India.
The biggest festival in India is Holi. Holi is a splendid spring festival in which Indians celebrate spring after the winter ends. The night before Holi, people drive away evil spirits by building a fire and sprinkle paints or powder on one another. Then they spend the next day singing and dancing all day long.
During the Holi period, people are undeterred by gender, age, status and the caste system. They bathe in the evening and change into new clothes, visiting their friends and relatives to promote friendship. Holi is held in not only India but various places around the world. Even in Korea there is also a festival celebrating Holi in the spring at the Haeundae Beach in Busan. This festival will be held on March 14 this year.
In addition, there are other countless festivals in India with different meanings and customs. For Indians, most festivals share the common significance of “meeting with family and friends to enjoy a pleasant time together and honor their customs and religious observance.”
Among them, Diwali is a major festival held in the fall. While Holi is the festival of colors, Diwali is the festival of lights held from late October to early November. Small earthen lamps hang on all places like the doors, roofs and walls. Today there are even light bulbs and neon lights decorated on those places, presenting a grand sight of a ray of lights. Diwali shares the same meaning with Korea’s Lunar New Year’s Day, so families scattered around the country all visit their hometowns that day to spend some time together. People decorate their homes to welcome Lakshmi, the goddess who brings good fortune, and they also prepare good food, jewelry and new clothes.
More than half of Indians are vegetarians, so it helps to pay attention to their food whenever you meet Indians. Note that you will leave a good impression if you naturally ask whether they are vegetarians or not when ordering food at a restaurant.
Luxembourg is receiving attention as a bridgehead for Korean companies to enter Europe in the era of FTA between Korea and EU. Luxembourg has a population of around 500,000 people and its area is merely four times the size of Seoul, and yet it has the world’s highest GDP per capita. As a small country, Luxembourg’s industrial structure is concentrated on finance; and Korean companies have not been so interested in Luxembourg due to the preconceived notion of high wage and high cost. However, now many experts say that Luxembourg is quite satisfactory if considered in combination with the general business convenience and costs.
People in Luxembourg are proficient in various foreign languages and are open-minded to different cultures. They rather used the unfavorable condition of being jammed between great powers as their advantage: they had to learn French and German since elementary school and English since middle school out of obligation, due to which all the people could freely speak multiple languages. General production workers are also proficient in English, which is an outstanding competitiveness compared to neighboring countries like Germany and France. Luxembourg is widely known for its financial power with the world’s second largest fund asset after the U.S. Many global IT companies are settling in Luxembourg, while the country is also striving to foster the manufacturing business such as materials and components. Hyosung is recognized as a successful business company in Luxembourg. The economic mission of Luxembourg led by Prince Guillaume visited Korea in 2011 to attract investments. At the time, Prince Guillaume visited Hyosung and expressed the desire to “solve the pending issues by having close conversations with the Luxembourg government.”
People in Luxembourg are known to be so cheerful and mellow that they say “one person raises roses on the field; two people drink coffee; and three people form a band.” One can easily see the sentence “We want to preserve the things we have today” on stone walls in Luxembourg, which indicates how the country is sticking to its native culture even under the long foreign rule.