Written by Carmen Law, Director, Belonging, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion
Within the month of December, there are various celebrations, festivals, religious events, national days and many more. A few examples are Festivus, Winter Solstice, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, Independence Days for Kenya, Qatar, Bahrain, Libya, Mongolia, Finland, Tanzania, Portugal, and many more. These are just a few significant dates people may celebrate or take time off to take care of themselves, friends, or family.
There are many different traditions associated with each holiday or significant day. Learning about the significance, stories and histories of various holidays can help broaden our perspective beyond the holidays we celebrate year after year.
According to AbacusData a survey was done in 2019 of Canadians asking them if they celebrate Christmas and if they celebrate Christmas a secular or religious holiday. 87% of respondents said they celebrate Christmas (51% secular holiday and 35% religious holiday). While 13% responded with “no”. While this may not be representative of our campus population, it supports our awareness of those who may not celebrate Christmas and there are many holidays during the month of December.
As we approach December, let’s be mindful to use inclusive language in how we greet each other and not making assumptions. Let’s practice asking open ended questions of each other first, so we are not making assumptions. For example, “what are you doing when most of the college closes?”. This question does not assume someone will be on holidays because they may choose to work or have to work, it doesn’t assume they will be with family members for various reasons, it doesn’t assume they celebrate a specific holiday. Another open-ended question can be, “how do you spend your time when the semester ends?” The examples provided are specifically for our college community. Once we’ve learned more about the person we’re talking to, it helps us decide on how we can wish them well.
Wishing you all the best in December!