- October 4, 2016
- Posted by: Uta Nelson
- Category: Art and Culture, Holidays
In the midst of fall foliage, and that crisp bite in the air that drives us to participate in favorite seasonal festivities and (I’ll say it) demand Pumpkin Spice lattes to fuel our daily lives, you might start reflecting on favorite rituals and traditions during this Harvest season, and assessing the fruits of your own labor.
From my earlier life in Southern Switzerland, I have fond memories of long October walks, collecting chestnuts from the trees that grew wild on the mountainous landscape of the region. When cooked over a fire in a pan with holes, the chestnut’s peel would pull away to reveal a sweet and tasty fruit. To this day I remember the excitement of finding the perfectly colored and open bur (its spiny shell) containing shining, chocolate brown chestnuts. By opening the bur with my feet (really!) I would gather the nuts and put them into a plastic bag.
Skip to the present day, where our feet are likely not peeling chestnuts but rather tapping to music or simply the beat of a workday pace as we sit at our computer. I start thinking about how the rest of the world is celebrating this season. What are they looking forward to, and how can we connect with them during this time?
Giving Thanks Across Borders
For countries with a fall season, much of the season centers on harvesting and making that harvest last as long as possible. And we are thankful for the provisions.
Many countries outside of the United States have some kind of fall harvest celebration, though not as significant of a national holiday as American Thanksgiving. Depending on the climate of the geography and the crops, the timing and the type of celebration might occur at varying times in the season. Canada’s Thanksgiving is on the second Monday in October.
Germany has the Erntedankfest (feast of thankfulness for the harvest) at the beginning of October. It is a harvest time observance that often includes church services, a parade, and music, similar to a country fair. In urban areas, the celebration is usually sponsored by the Protestant or Catholic Church.
Wine growing regions in Europe celebrate grape harvest weekends at the end of September with country fair-like festivities as well. In Neuchâtel, Switzerland, the celebration is called Fête des Vendanges. This celebration is a major city event with market booths, parades, folk music, a flower show, and even a Miss Neuchâtel competition.
Shared Throughout Cultures
Though most of our professions do not involve agricultural harvesting, we can extend the harvest celebration beyond literal harvesting:
- Harvesting: completing tasks or projects started earlier in the year, and collecting the rewards they bring.
- Preserving the fruit of our labor: traditional preserving involves preparing the gathered products in a way that will prevent them from spoiling. Now, in an office-dominated world, many of us organize and archive completed work so that it can be easily found and referenced. Digital file storage helps prevent “spoilage”.
- Unwinding: After a year of hard work, we need to make an effort to slow down our pace and focus on the joys of the season. The clarity of thought from this unwinding helps us as we make plans and set priorities for a new year.
Reaching Out to Your Audience
When addressing your audience, look for a way to engage in their lives and concerns. At the same time, try to establish a connection between the people you address and what you have to offer.
Your messaging might focus on a matter that they experience during this season. For example:
- Easing travel during the busiest travel season of the year, for the U.S. in particular
- Reducing meal preparation time and/or meal calories
- Pumpkin carving or wreath making tips
- Managing guests and festivities with ease
- Black Friday ideas for non-shoppers.
Black Friday is starting to take foot in Europe too, following Amazon Europe’s introduction of Black Friday deals a few years ago. There are exceptions–some major retailers like Harrods in London do not follow the trend, and REI in the U.S. is deliberate in their effort to promote outdoor recreation vs. the Black Friday shopping craze.
Greetings and Best Wishes
Year after year, there is always one holiday card that arrives before all others. For me, it is a Thanksgiving greeting from my insurance agent, Calvin, and it sticks out among all others.
So why not address your audience during harvest time?
At Tell, we would be honored to assist you with understanding how a certain culture celebrates the fall provisions, and conveying your message in the right language. It is our goal to keep your communication loyal to its original, while being culturally appropriate and engaging for your audience. Please feel free to contact us for more information, and Buona raccolta— happy harvest!