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Celebrating diversity at the holidays

2009 November 10
This piece was compiled by Cindy Goldberg, member of the Heights-Hillcrest-Lyndhurst Branch of AAUW Ohio, for the current issue of the branch newsletter. In it, she includes information from an article posted on the Education World Web site.

multicultural holidaysDecember: A Month of Multicultural Holiday Celebrations

Do your students celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or Three Kings Day? Maybe they celebrate St. Lucia Day or Ramadan. Chances are your class includes students who observe more than one of those event

Whether that is the case of not, December offers great opportunities for teaching about our multicultural world.

Few months present the multicultural “teachable moments” that December does! The following multicultural events and celebrations are among those that will happen this year:

  • Ramadan — Began Aug. 21, ended Sept. 19
  • Eid al-Fitr (Muslim) — Sept. 20
  • Eid’ul-Adha (Muslim) — Nov. 27
  • Saint Nicholas Day (Christian) — Dec. 6
  • Fiesta of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Mexican) — Dec. 12
  • St. Lucia Day (Swedish) — Dec. 13
  • Hanukkah (Jewish) — begins at sundown on Dec. 11, ends Dec. 19
  • Christmas Day (Christian ) — Dec. 25
  • Boxing Day (Australian, Canadian, English, Irish) — Dec. 26
  • Kwanzaa (African American) — Dec. 26 to Jan. 1
  • Omisoka (Japanese) — Dec. 31
  • Epiphany (Christian) — Jan. 6

So here is one of the challenges we face: Is it possible to honor all of the rich cultural traditions that enrich our diverse nation? How do we respond when a student, colleague, employee or employer makes a special point to mention his or her tradition? What if there is a request for “time off,” due to the celebration?

Again, it is easier to raise the question than establish a policy or give an opinion. What we can do is educate ourselves about this issue and reflect upon our own feelings about these matters.

While we are deep in this reflection may I sincerely wish all of you a heartfelt “Happy All.”

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