Christmas is a time of year where we all like to celebrate different traditions. Some traditions might be culturally driven, some by religious beliefs and others may be more of a quirky family tradition or we simply shout “Ba Humbug” and take a break from society for a couple of weeks to avoid it all.

In a culturally diverse society many of our work mates will have different way of celebrating Christmas and some will not mark Christmas at all as they have various other holy or culturally significant days.

I’m not suggesting taking the shine off or neutralising Christmas celebrations in your diverse workplace or community but simply drawing your attention to a subject many people find fascinating – how other Cultures celebrate religious holidays.

Interestingly only 45% of the world’s population are or identify as Christian so Christmas may not be the most important celebration of the year for many people around you.

Buddhists all over the world celebrate on the night of the full moon in May the birth, enlightenment and death of Buddha over 2500 years ago. Buddhist Festivals are always joyful occasions and typically the day starts with attending the local temple, offering food to the Monks and in the afternoon distributing food to the poor and in the evening concluding the day with chanting.

In India only 2.3% of the population are Christians (which does equate to over 25 million people). Instead of having traditional Christmas trees people will decorate a banana or mango tree and in many parts of India people attend midnight Mass and have their main feast on Christmas Eve.

In China only 1% of the population are Christian, so very few people know much about Christmas!

In the days of the Soviet Union Christmas was banned as a religious holiday in 1929 and it wasn’t until 1991 that Russians were free to celebrate again. The timing of Christmas celebrations is based on the old ‘Julian’ Calendar so it is actually the 7th January.

In Zimbabwe Christmas day starts with Church services and it is a very social day with people moving from one house to another to share food and presents. They also love to set up their biggest stereo speakers out the front of their house to play their favourite music very loudly and show off their best clothes.

People know how to celebrate in Croatia, their celebrations start on 25th November- St Catherine’s Day followed by Advent which sees the celebration of many Saints which finally comes to conclusion on the 6th January!!

No matter what the country or culture, there is one thing that unifies us all (and the theme is very clear) Christmas / religious holidays are about friends, family and food!

May you over indulge in one or more of these!!

Happy Holidays from EastCoast Human Resource Group