Post by Lauren
Before coming to Geneva we knew that American holidays like Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, and Thanksgiving would not be celebrated in our new country. Throughout the year, we have also learned that thematic ones like Halloween are also not as popular on this side of the pond.
Today’s holiday of Valentine’s Day also falls into this bucket. It is simply not a big thing here….or at least compared to the $17.6 billion USD Americans will spend on Valentine’s this year. I have seen a few heart shaped window displays and a few gentleman toting flowers on the bus, but its really a dime a dozen. The plus for ex-pats is that you would have zero trouble booking a restaurant with your sweetie on February 14th. Not that it matters to us — we planned a nice quiet dinner at home.
When it comes to other life events, I learned recently that they do not do “baby showers” or “wedding showers” in most other cultures. I discovered this in the summer when I was trying to explain to my French tutor that I attended a lot of baby showers in the US because all my friends were having kids nowadays. When I said “douche de bébé”*, you should have seen the look I got. I pulled out my photo album to further explain and demonstrate the concept – pages of my pregnant friends and games and gifts. However, she still wrote it down in her day journal because she thought it was such a funny concept.
And its not just a French/Swiss thing. Last week, we threw a baby shower for some moms at a local women’s shelter who had just given birth. The women had varying origins in Africa and the Middle East. We had to explain the concept as “an American tradition” before we started the refreshments and gifts as this type of events wasn’t familiar.
In case you would like more information on baby showers, check out S’s blog as she recently hosted a beautiful multi cultural attended one for friends M & C.
*Doucher is the French verb for shower.