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Holidays and Embracing Diversity


Holidays form a diverse tapestry of cultural traditions, offering a unique educational opportunity in youth work. Understanding the various celebrations throughout the month of December fosters respect and unity.

Furthermore, intentional inclusion of holiday activity in your programs creates an environment where cultural awareness thrives.

We’ll explore the significance of acknowledging holidays. Additionally, we’ll advocate for the use of the greeting "Happy Holidays" in the realm of youth work.

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The diversity of December celebrations

December is a month of global joy and celebration. In the realm of youth work, the importance of fostering inclusivity and respect for diverse celebrations is paramount.

The greeting "Happy Holidays" takes on special significance during this season as it reflects the dedication to open-mindedness and acceptance. Acknowledging and respecting December holidays becomes a powerful lesson for accepting others as their authentic selves.

Exploring a diverse array of holidays with youth

Let's embark on a journey to explore diverse celebrations worldwide!

  • Hmong New Year, celebrated between November and January, is a vibrant cultural festival for the Hmong community. It features traditional dances, music, and rituals to honor ancestors and welcome the upcoming year.
  • On December 1, World AIDS Day serves as a pivotal educational platform, shedding light on global health challenges.
  • December 5 marks Thailand's celebration of the king's birthday, offering an opportunity for discussions on monarchy and cultural diversity.
  • Bodhi Day on December 8 becomes a catalyst for conversations about enlightenment and mindfulness.
  • Human Rights Day on December 10 stands as an important reminder for young minds to appreciate and advocate for fundamental rights.
  • Christmas on December 25 is celebrated worldwide, symbolizing joy, generosity, and the birth of Jesus Christ in Christian traditions.
  • Zarathosht Diso on December 26 is observed by the Zoroastrian community in Iran. Prayers and reflections commemorate the death anniversary of Prophet Zarathustra.
  • Kwanzaa, observed from December 26 to January 1. This cultural celebration in the African-American community emphasizes seven principles (Nguzo Saba) such as unity, self-determination, and cooperative economics.
  • Yule, typically celebrated from late December to early January. This Pagan festival marks the winter solstice with traditions like decorating evergreen trees and the Yule log.
  • Hanukkah, observed in December, is the Jewish Festival of Lights. It symbolizes the miracle of the menorah oil lasting eight days. Families light the menorah, play dreidel, and enjoy festive foods.
  • New Year's celebrations, on January 1, mark the beginning of the calendar year with various customs including fireworks, parties, and resolutions.

The array of holidays throughout the month collectively shape a diverse educational landscape within youth work. These celebrations provide a unique lens for young individuals to cultivate cross-cultural understanding, promoting appreciation for global traditions and values.

Spreading joy with "Happy Holidays" in youth work

"Happy Holidays" is a warm and inclusive greeting. It aligns with the values of youth work by embracing the diversity of the festive season. Moreover, it provides a practical and positive way for young people to engage with and appreciate the multitude of celebrations worldwide.

Recognizing and respecting the vast array of holidays and using the greeting "Happy Holidays" becomes a powerful tool for nurturing inclusivity and cultural awareness. In embracing this, youth learn to find common ground in celebration, understanding, and shared happiness. They build a foundation for fostering a spirit of unity and respect within the vibrant month of December celebrations.

To further explore strategies for fostering inclusivity within your youth space, we extend an invitation to explore our Intercultural Engagement Focus Area. Here, you can discover culturally specific approaches to seamlessly integrate inclusivity into your youth work practices.

About the author

Cristina Archila is the training coordinator of the Youth Intervention Programs Association (YIPA), a non-profit association of youth-serving organizations. We're your source for exceptional, affordable, personal and professional online learning via The Professional Youth Worker. Join us!
To ask Cristina a question or share your feedback about this blog, email

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