Cultural celebrations

This page highlights some cultural and religious celebrations that may be significant to your employees. Consider highlighting those that could help build a more inclusive workplace.

Share on.articles

There are hundreds of different cultural and religious celebrations. Knowing what matters to your employee population can be as simple as asking them to share which celebrations matter to them and why. Your response could be a simple shoutout by email, intranet or social media, an educational event or a celebration. Here are some ideas for what you might do for some of the major days.


Happy Healthy Old and New Year

January 14 | January 1

Whether you celebrate the Old New Year (Orthodox) or New Year, it is a time to honour the year that has past and welcome in the promise of what lay ahead. In workplaces, it can help to recognize that many employees are looking toward a new year with hopes for better work-life balance and health.

Consider working some low to no cost break activities into your team’s workday. And while you’re doing that, you can also share other resources to help well-being for your employees and their families. 

Tu B'Shevat  

January 24 to 25

Tu B'Shevat, held on the 15th of Shevat, is considered “New Year for Trees”. The Jewish Federation of Canada shares that “In the times of the Temple in Jerusalem, the 15th of Shevat served to separate one year from the next with regard to the laws of bringing one’s tithes of produce and orlah (the fruits of the first three years, which are forbidden for consumption) to the Temple as a recognition of thanks to G-d* for the bounty of the earth.”

This can be a great opportunity to engage team members in a fun activity that might include planting something together or having deeper discussions about Organizational culture and their values, beliefs and expectations, which creates safer workplaces for everyone.

*A dash is sometimes inserted in God's name out of respect and deference. 

Isra and Mi'raj

February 6 to 7

Isra and Mi'raj marks the two parts of the night journey that Mohammad (also known as Mohamed or Muhammed) took on a single night according to Islam. Customs around Isra and Mi'raj vary between different Islamic communities, but it is an opportunity to recognize the unique traditions that connect us within our workplace teams. 

Workplace connections are important and the Psychologically safe workshop provides strategies to create healthier workplaces for everyone. 

Chinese New Year

February 10

Chinese New Year is a time to reflect on the challenges and successes of the past year and look to the future with optimism, joy, and hope. Take time to share Happy Chinese New Year’s greetings and engage employees about having a Chinese New Year’s celebration within your workplace or connecting with Chinese team members to attend a celebration in the community.

Because the Chinese Year, like other New Year’s celebrations, focuses on a bright and healthy future, consider it as an opportunity to do a team-building workshop like Learning to re-charge with your team. Spending time together in this way let’s every employee know that they matter, creates a positive environment, and supports all employees to thrive and succeed.

Purim | PDF

March 23 to March 24

Purim commemorates the saving of the Jewish people in the ancient Persian empire. Take the opportunity to recognize the joy and celebration of Purim by inviting your Jewish team members to share some of their favourite traditions for this holiday.

Some team building activities around Learning from the past could be used to recognize the strength and resilience of the many different cultures in the workplace. 


March 25 

Holi is considered as one of the most revered days in India. Sometimes referred to as the “festival of love”, people come together, and are encouraged to forget any disagreements they may have. The themes celebrated during Holi provide a wonderful opportunity to bring workplace teams together to celebrate and recognize their strengths

Ramadan | PDF

March 10 or 11 to April 9 or 10

Ramadan is a period of fasting and spiritual growth and is considered one of the five “pillars of Islam.” Because employees may still be required at work while making personal sacrifices during Ramadan, workplaces can support them by providing space for prayer and solitude. With their permission, it can be a great opportunity to invite these employees to share information about Ramadan with their co-workers, so that others are able to offer support and space. April 21 to 22, Eid al-Fitr, marks the end of Ramadan. 

Team-building activities like Mindful minutes to destress and resilience, also provide opportunities for team members to come together to share and learn. 

Easter | PDF

March 29 – Good Friday | March 31 – Easter Sunday | May 3 – Orthodox Easter Friday | May 5 – Orthodox Easter Sunday

While Easter is primarily a Christian celebration, many cultures also practice secular traditions and customs to mark the holiday in ways that bring loved ones together. 

This season of togetherness, gratefulness and reflection is an opportunity to gather team members to do some activities such as Writing something down they are grateful for

Eid al-Fitr | PDF

April 9 to 10

Eid al-Fitr, or the ‘festival of breaking the fast’, is a religious holiday that marks the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The holiday is celebrated during the first three days of Shawwal, the 10th month of the lunar Islamic calendar. On this day, more than 1.6 billion Muslims from around the world take part in Eid prayers, give to charity, attend social gatherings and exchange gifts.

Passover | PDF

April 22 to 30

Passover (Pesach) commemorates the Biblical story of the emancipation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt. Invite Jewish employees to share their knowledge of this momentous celebration through retelling of the story of Exodus or other traditions that are meaningful to them.

Consider adding a team activity like Journaling gratefulness or Create a wall of gratitude as ways for other team members to engage and share their stories of resilience and gratefulness for one another.   

St. Jean Baptiste day (Quebec) 

June 24

On June 24, on Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day and the National Day of Quebec, Francophones across Canada show their pride by celebrating their language and traditions. 

Perhaps a French-themed potluck could be shared or healthy break activities like Wear a Mona Lisa smile could be adapted to a St. Jean Baptiste theme.  

Eid al-Adha | PDF

June 17 to 19 

Eid al-Adha, also known as the Feast of Sacrifice, is considered one of the most important Islamic holidays, which can involve celebrating by gathering with family and loved ones to pray, show gratitude, share festive meals, and provide food to those in need. Recognize the importance of Eid al-Adha for your Muslim employees and invite them to share their traditions around this eminent holiday. 

Consider having your team celebrate and recognize the spirit of Eid al-Adha by volunteering together – a team building activity that also builds resiliency. 

Rosh Hashanah | PDF

October 2 to 4

Rosh Hashanah is celebrated as the head of the Jewish year. Rosh Hashanah feasts traditionally include round challah bread and apples dipped in honey, as well as other foods that symbolize wishes for a sweet year. Ideas for bringing this celebration into the workplace include respecting space for your Jewish employees during this celebration and asking if they would like to contribute some of the traditional feast foods for a workplace gathering.

Recognizing the diversity of all employees is also another theme that could be addressed in the workplace for the month of September. 

Yom Kippur | PDF

October 11 to 12

The Jewish Russian Community Centre of Ontario writes that “Yom Kippur is the holiest day of the year—the day on which we are closest to G-d* and to the quintessence of our own souls.” This is considered a time of personal sacrifice and can involve fasting, so show the workplace’s respect by honouring these team members who may be attending work by providing quiet space, a lessening of the normal demands of their workday, and avoiding any gatherings involving food or other refreshments. 

Continuing on the theme of education and awareness suggested for Rosh Hashanah, additional exercises and opportunities to build understanding and connection on diversity could help these employees feel both honoured and respected. 

*A dash is sometimes inserted in God's name out of respect and deference. 

Sukkot | PDF

October 16 to 23

Sukkot (Sukkes) is a weeklong Jewish holiday that comes five days after Yom Kippur. The traditions of Sukkot are fascinating and an opportunity for other team members to learn and engage in supporting their co-workers, who may be at work for part of Sukkot. 

With guidance and permission from these team members, an activity such as, planting something together could be used to honour the Sukkot traditions and brighten the workplace.

Diwali | PDF

October 31 to November 4

Diwali is India's biggest and most important holiday of the year. It is said to symbolize the spiritual victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance. This popular five-day (or six in some regions) festival is an opportunity to also celebrate the diversity, understanding and the sharing of knowledge that strengthen our workplace teams. 

Consider how you can integrate team building activities that recognize your team members from different cultures – perhaps an at work festival that celebrates a different culture each day, or a series of team building activity like Improve team culture, Recognize strengths or Team huddle that work to build better team cohesion and communication. 

Season's Greetings

December 25 to January 2 – Hanukkah | December 25 – Christmas | December 26 to January 1 – Kwanzaa | January 7 – Orthodox Christmas

In Canada, the Holiday Season brings people together from many different cultures and religions to celebrate their diverse traditions with others. Workplaces can honour these traditions and promote awareness and shared understanding amongst team members about Hanukkah | PDF, Kwanzaa, Christmas or Orthodox | PDF Christmas.

Your team may benefit from resources to build Civility and respect in your workplace, which like shared holiday traditions, helps create more connected, contented and successful teams. Happy Holidays! 

Contributors include.articlesMary Ann BayntonWorkplace Strategies team 2022 to present


To add a comment.comments