When you’re building a global business, you need to understand what’s important to your target locale. Learning about key events in their calendar is a good place to start.

Events like Christmas and Thanksgiving are huge highlights in the Western calendar. Smart companies know this and take advantage of the marketing opportunities. 

Localizing your marketing around major events is a great way to connect with customers and demonstrate that you understand what matters to them. However, there’s also plenty of minefields to avoid.

Events like Christmas and Diwali are celebrated around the world, but be careful not to take a one-size-fits-all approach. If you act like everyone’s customs are the same, your marketing will stand out for the wrong reasons.

We’ve compiled a month-by-month planner of important global events and included some useful information on how businesses can take advantage of them.

January

Christmas (Russia)

Christmas in Russia is normally celebrated on January 7th. This is because the Russian Orthodox Church uses the Julian calendar for religious celebrations. The official Christmas holidays in Russia last from December 31st to January 10th.

February

Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year (CNY) is celebrated across Asia and in other Asian populations around the world. CNY follows the lunar calendar so it doesn’t have a set date. However, it usually takes place in late January to mid-February.

Family is the biggest theme during CNY, so it’s the chance to tell warm, welcoming stories that will help customers emotionally connect with your brand. A localized campaign might celebrate your family values or talk about how your technology brings people together. 

March

Easter

Easter is a Christian holiday which celebrates Jesus’ resurrection, although it’s become more secular in modern times. It can fall on any Sunday between March 22nd and May 8th.

It’s a great example of a festival where understanding your audience is crucial. 

The United States celebrates Easter with egg hunts, parades and visits from the Easter bunny, but Easter is a sacred religious holiday in many other parts of the world.

Around 80% of the population in Greece belong to the Eastern Orthodox Church, so Easter remains a primarily religious holiday. Similarly, Guatemala hosts a week-long festival that remembers the crucifixion of Jesus with marches and large figures of Jesus and Mary. 

The lesson? If you’re localizing your marketing to a region like Greece or Guatemala during the Easter period, your tone will need to be more respectful of the religious connotations. 

April

Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr

Celebrated in Islamic cultures, Ramadan is a month of fasting and Eid al-Fitr is the festival of breaking fast. These holidays helped Muslims reconnect with their loved ones and religion. 

Since the Islamic calendar is based on the lunar cycle, Ramadan rotates by around 10 days each year. Its expected start date in 2021 is April 12th.

May

Memorial Day

Not all global events are celebrations, so it’s important to make sure that you’re striking the right tone for your audience. 

A good example is the United States’ Memorial Day. It’s held on the last Monday in May and remembers the men and women who have died in battle. 

Messaging around occasions like Memorial Day should be sensitive – wishing someone a “Happy Memorial Day” would be inappropriate.

June

Midsummer’s Day

Midsummer is a celebration of the summer solstice, the longest day of the year (June 21st). It’s one of the most popular holidays in Sweden, but is also celebrated across Scandinavia.

In Sweden, houses are decorated with wreaths and flower garlands for the festival. Midsummer’s Eve is also a popular day in Denmark and is celebrated with bonfires and processions. 

July

Independence Day

Independence Day, also known as the Fourth of July, is a holiday in the United States that celebrates the Declaration of Independence. It’s typically celebrated with fireworks, picnics or barbecues and the colours of the American flag (red, white and blue).

August

Hari Merdeka

Hari Merdeka commemorates the Malaysian Declaration of Independence on August 31st 1957. It marks Malaysia’s independence from British colonial rule and is celebrated with parades across the country.

September

Yom Kippur

Yom Kippur is also known as the Day of Atonement. It’s the holiest day of the year in Judaism and is focused on atonement and repentance. Jews typically observe this day with prayer and a day-long fast. 

Yom Kippur is celebrated on the seventh month of the Jewish calendar or in September or October in the Gregorian calendar. 

October

Diwali 

Diwali is a major festival which is celebrated by Hindus, Jains and Sikhs. The festival is held during the Hindu lunisolar month Kartika, which is from mid-October to mid-November. 

Nearly a billion people celebrate Diwali around the world and it’s recognised as an official holiday in almost a dozen countries, including India, Fiji, Singapore and Malaysia.

November

Thanksgiving 

Thanksgiving is a national holiday in the United States. It’s celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November and famously includes a turkey dinner and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Localizing your product for Canada? Remember that Canadian Thanksgiving is earlier, held on the second Monday in October.

Singles’ Day

Singles’ Day – originally called Bachelor’s Day – is an unofficial Chinese holiday which celebrates people who aren’t in relationships. It’s held on November 11th (11/11), because the number “1” resembles a bare stick or someone who has not added “branches” to a family tree.

It’s become the biggest shopping day in the world, generating more sales than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined. Alibaba shoppers spent more than $56 billion during 2020 Singles’ Day. 

Singles’ Day brings huge discounts across millions of products. If you’ve localized your app for the Chinese market, you may want to think about pricing during this time. And don’t leave changes until the last minute either – consumers start placing orders for Singles’ Day from mid-October. 

Another tip – make sure you’re using the correct language for Chinese localization.

December

Christmas

Christmas is one of the most popular holidays around the world. However, like Easter, you should remember that traditions vary in different markets. 

Localizing your marketing to match the unique Christmas traditions in a specific locale will help to engage customers there. Small tweaks to the language you use can make all the difference.

For example, Santa Claus – known as Papá Noel – is the one to bring gifts in Mexico and Peru, while presents come from Saint Lucy in parts of Italy. In Colombia, Bolivia and Costa Rica, presents come from the infant Jesus, known as Niño Jesús.

Want to learn more about localizing your site for a new market? Get in touch with our team today.