Five Festive Ways to Embrace Foreign Culture This Christmas

Feliz Navidad and a Szczęśliwego Nowego Roku!

'Tis the season to be alegre. That's Spanish for 'jolly' to those who were unaware (myself included). Here's a list of ways to embrace other cultures in Dublin this festive season - for the politically and socially challenging year that's been 2017.


George’s Dock, November 30 - December 23

Why don’t you pretend you’re in the Swiss Alps?

Designed as a gigantic, custom built ski lodge, Aprés Dublin will be lighting up George’s Dock in its entirety. There will also be a hand built gondola DJ booth blaring tunes so people can rhythmically munch away on all the ethnic street food available. German sausages, platters and turkey burgers. Vegan and vegetarian options. Deep house and Ski songs. Everyone is catered for here! This part of the festival opens from 5.30pm every day - while the Aprés village boasts a sing along winter choir, carousel, big wheel, weekend santa’s grotto, face painting, inflatable snow globes and a VR ski experience. Open from 12-7pm, this is a sure fire way to get culturally festive in the lead up to Christmas.


King 7 (Capel Street) and Ukiyo (Exchequer Street)

Don that Christmas jumper, get drunk on Soju and take your co-workers for a shameless rendition of Christmas K-pop songs like ‘Santa U Are The One’ by SMTOWN. In Korea they call it ‘Noraebang’, which literally translates as ‘song room’. Karaoke has long been vibrant in Eastern culture and was especially popularised by the Koreans as a way of bringing people together. Leave that pride at the door and give it a whirl.


IFI, Temple Bar - December 7-10

After a few Bavarian pork knuckles in Sopot restaurant, get on down to the IFI to celebrate the art of Polish film. See Sci-fi thrillers such The Man With The Magic Box or an eclectic selection of Polish animations. Take Renata Gąsiorowska’s Pussy which a masturbation session goes down an unexpected road. Or Marta Pajek’s Impossible Figures and Other Stories II, where a woman finds her house filled with paradoxes. "Nothing festive about this", you say. To really embrace Polish Christmas tradition afterwards, you can choose to fast then feast on the eve of December 24. In Polish culture, the ‘Wigilia’ feast is the most important celebration of the year and begins at the appearance of the first star. Jesus would be zachwycony. Wouldn't anyone else?


Number Twenty Two, South Anne Street - December 9

Europe has its cabarets - America has its clubs. In the great era of live popular entertainment between the two world wars, New York housed some of the best. Café Society was one venue that made history as being the first non-segregated club in America. At the time, such attempts required courage, idealism and a certain naivety. Guests can now get the full Café Society experience every Saturday night with doors open from 7.30pm. Expect to hear jazzed up covers of ‘Silent Night' for the season that's in it.


D2 (Harcourt Street) and Turks Head (Parliament Street) - (D2) Mondays and (Turks Head) Thursdays

No matter where you hail from, dive head first into the most authentic thing about Christmas: Togetherness. You can practice and improve your target language while meeting new people - whether that be in Spanish, French, Portuguese, Italian, German, Chinese, or Japanese. One big advantage is that you’ll always be opposite a native speaker. In a seemingly divided world, this is one route back to altruism. Baubles and all.


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