One of the cultural challenges of employing workers all over the world is the recognition of national holidays and days of remembrance that are an important part of their local reality. Making mention of these days and sending well wishes as they happen can go a long way toward building bridges and affinities with your global teams, though they may be oceans away.
Here are some prominent holidays coming up in December, along with a brief description. We hope it helps you take steps toward further connecting with and honoring your employees across the world.
Hanukkah (18 December – 26 December). Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, commemorates the recovery of Jerusalem after a Jewish rebellion against the Greek Seleucid Empire in the 2nd century. Observed for eight days and nights, the holiday is a time for celebrating miracles and bravery. Perhaps due in part to its timeless symbolism, Hanukkah has attained major cultural significance for Jews worldwide.
Kwanzaa (26 December – 1 January). Kwanzaa is an annual celebration of African American culture, and is meant as an Africa-sourced alternative to the Christian holiday season. It emerged during the 1960s as the creation of Black American activists who sought to develop parallel institutions that could operate independently from the mainstream culture.
Christmas Day (25 December). The most widely observed holiday in Christianity, Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ in ancient Israel. Christmas celebrations vary wildly in scope and tone around the world, with highly commercialized and secular versions dominating in developed western countries, while more intimate, religious-focused versions are common outside of North America and Europe.
Boxing Day/2nd Day of Christmas/St Stephen’s Day (26 December). Boxing Day falls every year on the day after Christmas, a day known to other European nations as St. Stephen’s Day. Though the origins of the holiday are contested, it’s traditionally associated with giving gifts or charity to the poor. Over time, however, the emphasis has evolved into a day of shopping and gift giving in general.
New Year’s Eve (31 December). New Year’s Eve marks the last day of the year in the Gregorian calendar before the new year. Celebrations are common across the globe, many including spectacular displays of fireworks, while in private, celebrants toast champagne, kiss their romantic partners at midnight, and take the opportunity to make resolutions of personal growth for the coming year.
Immaculate Conception Day (8 December). A solemn Catholic feast holiday that takes place nine months before the feast of the Nativity of Mary, Immaculate Conception Day celebrates the belief that Mary, Mother of Jesus was preserved from original sin all her life.