One common concern we hear from DEI practitioners is how to keep track of–and appropriately talk about–the many diverse holidays, celebrations, and observances throughout the full calendar year. In response, our team has put together this quick guide to best practices for honoring diverse holidays within your organization.
At the bottom of the page, you’ll also find a list of diversity holidays observed and celebrated by different religions, ethnicities, and cultural groups in America, so you can stay up-to-date at least through January 2022. However, it’s important to note that this list covers only November and December of 2021 and the first few weeks of 2022.
The best way to keep your team updated is to keep an organization-wide diversity holidays calendar. Start by downloading or subscribing to The Diversity Movement’s 2022 Diversity Calendar, available soon. Then, you might consider asking your employees to review the calendar and add meaningful dates they will be celebrating within the year, like the organization’s founding anniversary or local and regional cultural celebrations.
By creating awareness of other religions, cultures, customs, and ways of life, you are acknowledging a part of an employee’s identity. In this way, workplace celebrations work as signals to your team about what matters to your organization. They show that you respect and value diversity, equity, and inclusion.
In your standard HR processes, you might also consider including questions about which holidays people observe and what dates they would like to see recognized across the organization. Also, if you can, offer floating, paid time off so that your employees can take personal time for the religious, ethnic, and cultural observances that are meaningful to them.
As in most DEI conversations, it is important to be intentional and inclusive when talking about holidays at work. For instance, if your organization is recognizing Eid, you can say “Eid Mubarak” or “Blessed Eid.” Take time to understand the phrases that are most commonly used during each celebration. Some observances may have a somber mood, such as Yom Kippur, and others may be focused on a particular greeting, such as Navratri and its focus on women’s empowerment. By researching the holiday and learning more about its customs, you can appropriately wish your colleagues, customers, and community a meaningful and respectful celebration.
Here is a list of some prominent holidays in the coming months.
11/1/2021: All Saints Day (Christian)
11/1/2021: Samhain (Pagan)
11/2/2021: Día de los Muertos (Christian, Mexico)
11/4/2021: Diwali (Hindus, Jains, Sikhs)
11/8/2021: Birthday of Guru Nanak Ji (Sikh)
11/12/2021: Birth of Baha’u’llah (Baha’i)
11/24/2021: Jain New Year (Multi-faith)
11/25/2021: Native American Heritage Day
11/28-12/6/2021: Hanukkah (Jewish)
12/16-12/24/2021: Las Posadas (Christian- Latin America)
12/21/2021: Yule (Pagan)
12/25/2021: Christmas (Christian)
12/26/2021: Boxing Day (Christian)
1/1/2022: New Year’s Day
1/1/2022: Gantan-sai (Shinto)
1/6/2022: Feast of the Epiphany (Christian)
1/7/2022: Coptic Orthodox Christmas (Orthodox Christian)
1/10/2022: Bodhi Day (Buddhist)
1/13/2022: Birthday of Guru Gobind Singh (Sikh)
1/14/2022: Orthodox New Year (Orthodox Christian)
And remember, it’s human to make mistakes. If you unintentionally neglect a certain holiday, apologize, fix it, and learn from your mistake. One strategy for avoiding common pitfalls is to ask a diverse team of employees to review your full diversity calendar and holiday-related social media posts before you publish to the full organization. By taking time to seek out diverse perspectives, you help to mitigate unconscious bias and give diverse employees a way to contribute to your workplace culture without making it their job to educate the team.
We will continue to update this list throughout the season. If you have holidays, cultural celebrations, or commemorations to share with our team, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
As we begin this 2021-2022 holiday season, here’s wishing you a peaceful, restorative, and joyful winter season, with all its many celebrations.