This time of year offers a great opportunity for employees to bond over holiday parties and good food, but it can also be a source of conflict when an array of beliefs and cultures are thrown into the mix. During the winter, countless religious, spiritual, and tradition-based holidays are celebrated. Considering this, it’s essential to recognize that the holidays you celebrate are not the only ones.
Let’s use this festive time of year as an opportunity to celebrate diversity and inclusiveness here at Launch Workplaces! We have curated a list of holidays for you to refer to in order to encourage our amazing members to build a mutual understanding of one another. But don’t stop there—do your own research and talk to other members about what makes this time of year so special to them. You’ll learn a lot and form closer relationships in the process!
Celebrated all around the world by Christians, Christmas occurs on December 25 each year and marks the birth of Jesus Christ. Millions of Christians around the world celebrate the holy birth by gathering with friends and family to engage in traditions like exchanging gifts, decorating a Christmas tree, singing, and praying.
Also called the “Festival of Lights,” Hanukkah celebrates the victory of Maccabees, the rededication of of the Temple of Jerusalem in 165 BC, and the miracle of the oil that burned for eight days. For eight nights Jewish people celebrate Hanukkah with prayer, the lighting of the menorah, and food.
From December 26 to January 1, Kwanzaa is celebrated to commemorate African heritage. During this weeklong celebration, family and friends convene to exchange gifts and light red, black, and green candles that represent the values of African American family life, including unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith.
4. Three Kings Day
At the end of the twelve days of Christmas comes Three Kings Day. This holiday is celebrated as the day when the three wise men first saw baby Jesus and brought him gifts. In Spain this is the day when many children get gifts. In Puerto Rico, children leave a box under their bed on January 5 so the kings will leave them presents. And in France, the “king’s’ cake” is baked, where bakers hide tiny coins, toys, or jewels inside.
5. Chinese New Year
This holiday is considered the most important of Chinese traditional holidays. Every year it falls on a different day between January 21 and February 20. This is the time of year when family gatherings are common, the color gold is believed to bring wealth, and the color red to bring luck. Large dinners take place on this holiday where family and friends join together to enjoy noodles, fish, and dumplings. This season’s Chinese New Year begins on February 8, 2016.
6. Los Posadas
This Mexican holiday is celebrated for nine days, from December 16 to 24. Posadas are re-enactments of the journey made by Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem, and they take place each night at a different home within the community. Guests join together at different home each night, dressed as shepherds, angels, or Mary and Joseph, to sing songs and ask for shelter. When the hosts open their homes, there is a big party with traditional Mexican foods like ponche and bunuelos.
Also known as the “Festival of Lights,” Diwali is a five-day Hindu holiday that celebrates both the attainment of Nirvana by Mahavira (an Indian Sage), as well as a Death Anniversary of Swami Dayanand (Hindu religious leader). A main tradition includes the lighting of small clay lamps to represent the victory of good over evil. During the festival all those celebrating wear new clothes and share sweet treats with their family and friends.
There are plenty more holidays worldwide that are not included in this list. Please take the time to share with us in the comments any holidays you celebrate during this time of year, and why they’re important to you.
Taking the time to learn about different holidays is valuable to all of us in gaining a better understanding of the diversity that makes Launch Workplaces so enriching.
Happy holidays to all!