New Year around the world


Last week we discovered how Christmas is celebrated around the world. With the festive season officially behind us, let’s look at how to different countries mark the most celebrated global holiday, New Year:

Australia (Happy New Year!)

Australian celebrations include New Year’s Eve balls, cruises and beach parties. The holiday is especially popular in Sydney, which hosts the most watched New Year celebrations in the world, with more than one billion viewers tuning in worldwide to see the massive firework display over the Harbour.

Belgium (Gelukkig nieuwjaar!)

While adults toast the New Year with champagne, Belgian children write letters to their parents or godparents, decorate them  and read them aloud on New Year’s Day.

 China (Xin nian yu kuai!)

Chinese New Year is celebrated by the lunisolar calendar, so can fall any time between 21 January and 20 February. An important festival in the Republic, the festival is marked by large parades with lanterns and firecrackers, led by a silk dragon, the Chinese symbol of strength.

Denmark (Godt NytÅr!)

New Year evening meals are prepared in Denmark, ending with a ‘Kransekage’, a cone-shaped desert cake decorated with firecrackers and flags. On 1 January, it is thought that throwing dishes on a neighbour’s doorstep will bring them many friends in the coming year.

 Greece (Eutychismenos o kainourgios chronos!)

In Greece, households traditionally switch off all the lights at midnight, then celebrate by cutting the Basil’s pie (vassilpita), which contains a coin. Whoever wins the coin expects luck for the year ahead.

 India (nayye saal ki haardik shubh-kaam-nayen!)

The date and traditions of New Year vary between different regions of India, though each are typically celebrated at the start of the agricultural season of each area, and usually involve local rituals, food, dance and music.

Japan (Akemashite Omedetô Gozaimasu!)

New Year celebrations last from 1 January to 3 January in Japan, with most businesses closing so families can spend time together. Homes are decorated with pine, bamboo and plum tree ornaments.

Spain (Feliz año Nuevo!)

A notable Spanish New Year custom is to eat a grape at each stroke of midnight. Eating all 12 grapes before the final chime is thought to grant good luck in the coming year.

 The Philippines (Manigong Bagong Taon!)

Considered part of the Christmas holiday, Filipinos celebrate New Years with firecrackers, horns and other noisemakers to dispel evil spirits and prevent them bringing bad luck into the coming year. A meal is shared at midnight (Media Noche), including a basket of twelve fruits to symbolise prosperity in the coming twelve months.

Thailand (Sawatdii Pi Maï!)

In keeping with the Buddhist/Hindu solar calendar, ‘Songkran’ is celebrated from 13 to 15 April in Thailand. Families travel to their hometowns and meet their elders, pouring water on each other to symbolically wash away their sins and bad luck.

Know any more New Year traditions in different countries? Let us know in the comments below!

To find out more about moving abroad in the New Year (or any other time), contact Pickfords.

Christmas around the world


One of the most celebrated global holidays, Christmas is associated with a wide variety of traditions across the world. If you’re in search of an expat adventure in the New Year, what local festivities can you expect come Yuletide?

Australia (Happy Christmas!)

In lieu of ice and snow, Australians traditionally host outdoor Christmas picnics and sing carols on the beach!

France (Joyeux Noël!)

Christmas begins on 6 December (Saint Nicholas’ Day) in many regions of France, a day when children are given sweets and small gifts.

Children hope for more candy on Christmas Day (25 December) after leaving out their polished shoes in front of the fireplace the night before, to be filled with goodies by Père Noël (Father Christmas).

Germany (Fröhliche Weihnachten!)

Christmas markets are incredibly popular in German city squares. Homes are decorated with lights and ornaments in December, although the Christmas tree isn’t put up until Christmas Eve.

Iceland (Gleðileg Jól!)

The darkest time of year in Iceland is juxtaposed with bright Christmas lights and fireworks both in city centres and back gardens.

Children put their shoes on the windowsill for Santa Claus (Juletide Lads) to fill with small treats.

Italy (Buon Natale!)

The traditional nativity scene, ‘presepe’ is common across Italy, prominently seen in town squares, churches and private homes, usually the central focus of any Christmas decorations.

Father Christmas (Babbo Natale) usually hands out presents to children on Christmas Day, although many families still wait to exchange gifts on 6 January, the day of Epiphany (La Befana).

Japan (Merii Kurisumasu!)

Traditional Christmas dinner in Japan is… KFC! The fried chicken restaurant is so popular in the country that, for Christmas Day, you have to pre-book a table!

The Netherlands (Zalig Kerstfeest!)

Christmas is celebrated in 6 December in the Netherlands. Children await the arrival of SinterKlass (Santa Claus) and his sidekick Black Pete. Good children receive sweets and nuts, so long as they fill their shoes with hay and sugar for Santa’s reindeer horse!

The Philippines (Maligayang Pasko!)

Star-shaped Christmas lanterns (paról) are a popular tradition in the Philippines, as a symbol of the Star if Bethlehem. The lanterns are sold in local markets, made out of bamboo and paper and sold in local markets.

 Singapore (Sheng Tan Kuai Loh!)

Christmas is a highly commercialised affair in Singapore; flashy decorations and bright fairy lights abound, especially in shopping centres and private homes.

 South Africa (Geseënde Kersfees!)

The warm weather encourages families to gather for a ‘braai’ (South African BBQ) on Christmas Day after attending church mass.

Know any more Christmas traditions in different countries? Let us know in the comments below!

To find out more about moving abroad at Christmas (or any other time), contact Pickfords.

See also: New Year around the world

Pickfords shortlisted for International Moving Company 2015

Pickfords has been shortlisted for an EMEA EMMA (Expatriate Management and Mobility Award) in the International Moving Company of the Year category by the Forum for Expatriate Management.

The EMMAs celebrate excellence and innovation in global mobility. An independent judging panel assess nominees against a strict set of criteria, including client communication, innovation, knowledge, skills and expertise in their nominated category.

The announcement follows Pickfords’ win in 2013, and ‘Highly Commended’ nomination last year.

The awards will be announced at a gala dinner and ceremony at The EMEA Global Mobility Summit at the Lancaster London Hotel on 6 November.

EMEA Shortlisted button

Pickfords awarded ‘Highly Commended’ International Moving Company 2014

Pickfords has been awarded ‘Highly Commended’ in the International Moving Company of the Year award 2014 by the Forum for Expatriate Management.

The nomination for an EMEA EMMA (Expatriate Management and Mobility Award) follows Pickfords’ win in the same category in 2013.

Judged by an independent panel, the award was presented at a gala dinner and ceremony at The EMEA Global Mobility Summit at the Lancaster London Hotel on 7th November.

Steve Boyd, Pickfords’ International Operations Director, said:

“We are proud to be presented with an award in the category for International Moving Company; after last year’s win it’s a pleasant surprise but a great demonstration of the consistent high standards of our operational and move management teams.”

Click here to read more about last year’s win.


Pickfords nominated and shortlisted as International Moving Company of the Year


For the third year running, Pickfords has been nominated and shortlisted as ‘International Moving Company of the Year’ at the Expatriate Management and Mobility Awards 2012. 

These prestigious awards, created by the Global Mobility industry’s leading association, the Forum for Expatriate Management, will be judged by a prestigious panel of judges, who will assess the submissions received against the criteria for the awards.   

The EMMAs are intended to celebrate excellence and innovation in global mobility programmes as well as to recognise the performance of service providers in supporting the ambitions of corporate relocation programmes. 

Judging criteria in these categories include client communication, innovation, knowledge, skills and expertise.   

The EMMAs will be awarded at the Forum for Expatriate Management’s Gala Dinner at the Riverbank Plaza in London on October 19th.

Visit us at

Pickfords to keep London moving during the Olympics

Pickfords reveals plan to keep London moving home
 during the Olympic Games 

Pickfords, the UK’s largest removals and storage company,  has unveiled its plans to keep London moving during London 2012. 

The Olympic Games will affect both home movers and businesses between 27th July and 9th September as the transport system in London will be impacted by the Olympic event.   Road systems will change, priority ‘Olympic’ lanes will be added, some roads will close and, with an influx of visitors to London, parking spaces will be in short supply. 

Pickfords has set up a team to investigate the possible impacts and to create a plan to overcome the problems created in the London transport system.  The plan will include a range of tactics including:  identifying the hot spots and affected postcodes early in the process, daily syndication of traffic reports between Pickfords branches,   liaising with street party organisers, working in the evening and during the night and using a shuttle service to transport its customers’ goods. 

Operations Director Mark Taylor said, “Our highest priority is to ensure our customers’ moves go smoothly in London this summer, so we will be liaising closely with Transport for London, the London Organising Committee for the Games and the London Boroughs to ensure we take every action necessary to overcome the challenges.” 

“If our customers are planning to move during the Olympic weeks, particularly the gap between the Games, we urge them to contact us as soon as possible so we can make the necessary checks and arrangements.’

Call your local branch on 0800 019 8557

You can see more detail on the plans in the Olympic corner of the Pickfords website on