Happy New Year! Our roundup of 2011 begins with a reminder that 1st January is not the beginning of a new year throughout the world. Carla wrote that Brazilians consider the year to start after February’s carnival, and Anu wrote about new year celebrations which take place at different times in different parts of India. Of course many parts of the world do celebrate the start of the New Year on January 1st, and Sandra’s post explained all about new year celebrations in Portugal.

Bolo Rei
Bolo Rei – part of the New Year celebrations in Portugal. Credit.

As usual, we had a great time compiling collaborative group posts this year. Traditions for naming children and hand gestures in different countries were two of our (and your) favourites. We also enlarged our People of the World channel to feature many more posts from people living across cultures. Have a look at Carrie’s post on raising a third culture kid, or cultural differences between Colombia and Costa Rica explored by Nuria’s Costa Rican students. And read more about our contributors from around the world in our meet our contributors series.

Following the success of last year’s round the world in 23 posts, the roundup wouldn’t be complete without a whirlwind world tour of 2011’s top posts.

From Canada, Kelly wrote that It’s not summer til you camp. From the Midwest USA, Sean wrote about Bicycle culture and subculture in the USA, and from the West Coast, Jason wrote about San Francisco’s famous sourdough bread.

Nuria wrote about the challenge of climbing Costa Rica’s Mount Chirripo, while from Brazil Carla told us how to dress for trendy Rio and Ana wrote about religious diversity in Argentina.

Marcel wrote about Ireland’s creative response to the financial crisis, and Hannah gave her perspective as a Londoner on rioting in the UK.

Sandra told us about a charming Portuguese lover’s tradition called Lencos dos Namorados, and Marta explained Foosball’s Spanish origins. From France, DeeBee reported on catching up with the Tour de France in Brittany.

Dance was a recurring theme going East: Jenna wrote about immigrants to Poland keeping their traditions alive through dance, and Carmen wrote about traditional dances from Romania and beyond in Romania’s cultural festivals this summer.

In Turkey, Sinan wrote about the tulip, which stands for abundance, indulgence and Istanbul. Agata sent in a photo tour from Basra, Iraq.

During Ramadan in August, Rosemary explained how Ramadan is celebrated in Nigeria.

Nargiza wrote about the film ‘Almaz’ and what it tells us about Kyrgyz culture. Anu’s post about her Tamil Brahmin wedding and Meena’s post on a Coorgi wedding brought an Indian touch to our weddings around the world series.

Continuing through Asia, Bryan gave us a tour of a Filipino church. LeX wrote about Malaysia’s fusion of culture, food and tourism. Ski bemoaned the high price and tiny size of apartments in Hong Kong, and Carrie wrote about Nyepi day celebrations in Bali, Indonesia. From Okinawa, Japan, Mike showed us his daughter’s Okinawan wedding.

Finally, Marie snapped a photo of New Zealand’s Polynesian Pasifika festival.

That’s all for this year, we look forward to visiting even more countries in 2012! If your country isn’t on here, why don’t you write to us? We’re always looking for contributors from different parts of the world. In the meantime, many best wishes for 2012.

About the author

Lucy is English and first ventured out of the UK she was 19. Since then she has lived in 4 different countries and tried to see as much of the world as possible. She loves learning languages, learning about different cultures and hearing different points of view.