Traditions, rituals, and routines are core to our cultural identity and are practiced for holidays and holy days celebrated around the world. As our families, workplaces, communities, and world reflect global diversity it’s important to recognize traditions that make you who you are. Self-awareness is only one key to creating spaces where diversity, equity, and inclusion can thrive. We must also learn to acknowledge the customs and practices of others. We can grow our cultural competency by learning about the holidays and holy days that are important to the people that surround us.
Here are two ways learning from holidays and holy days can build a better world, a better workplace, and a better you.
Learn the Language.
Language is how we express ourselves and communicate with those around us. The words and phrases we use are important to creating environments of inclusivity and belonging.
Dr. Carrie Spell-Hansson stresses the importance of the words we use when speaking to and about people of other cultures. “ Language is one of the foundational elements that allow us to tell the story of who we are. When you do not pay attention to what you say or the way you say it, you can potentially hurt an entire community bound together by cultural commonalities.”
With that in mind, learning the appropriate language to acknowledge holidays and holy days around the world will improve your ability to connect with those around you when you use words that speak to others on a culturally intimate level.
Understanding the Reasons.
Like language, holidays and holy days are foundational to cultures around the world. Understanding the why behind these gatherings brings context to how people live, believe, and celebrate.
In a global community, we have to recognize that we have many “differences.” The more difficult part is accepting those differences and recognizing the value they bring to the table. It is often uncomfortable because we realize that our ways, values, and belief systems are not the norm for everyone. And that means we must seek out our place within this bigger diverse global community. Learning the reasons —the history and meaning behind holidays and holy days — tell others that we acknowledge and accept their differences. It is a sign of respect and invites belonging— something all of us need and desire.
Creativity, innovation, camaraderie, collaboration, and engagement are only a few of the benefits of building spaces where everyone can show up and share their whole selves. As we approach the end of this year, remember to learn the language, understand the reasons, and acknowledge the differences for as many holidays and holy days as you can. Especially for those in your immediate circle at work, your communities, or those you are curious about.
The Folke Institute invites you to download our 2023 Inclusion Planner which includes many holidays and holy days celebrated around the world.