13
4
Celebrations
SelmaMyers,InterculturalDevelopment
SanDiego,California,USA
andJonamayLambert,LambertAssociates
HoffmanEstates,Illinois,USA
Purpose
To help participants understand the meaning of holidays practiced by diverse peoples and
countries
To explore how these observances can affect the global workplace, as well as interper-
sonal business relations
Targetaudience
This activity is richer when used with large groups of diverse participants. It is especially
useful for people living and working in countries other than their own. It will also help busi-
ness people in their own country when they are affected by local or national celebrations of
other countries. It is a high-energy activity that gets people engaged quickly and in an enjoy-
able way.
Time
30 minutes
Materialsandenvironment
Flipchart and markers
Handout 1, “Celebrations and You,” for each participant
Handout 2, “Holidays Around the World,” for each participant
Handout 3, “Create an International Calendar of Holidays,” for each participant
Procedure
1. Distribute Handout 1, “Celebrations and You,” and tell participants to answer the three
questions on that page. Allow 5 to 10 minutes.
2. Pair up participants and ask them to spend 10 minutes sharing their responses on the hand-
out with their partners.
50ActivitiesforAchievingCulturalCompetency
14
3. Reconvene the large group and ask these questions, putting them on a flipchart or over-
head for all to see:
What holidays were discussed? Were there any surprises?
Why is it important to know about other people’s holidays when working with them?
How does knowledge about diverse holidays affect a business relationship? The
workplace?
Give specific examples of work-related situations, negative or positive, affected by
differences in celebrations. What happened in each of those situations?
How do you feel about holidays that are different from your own? If you had to change
a scheduled meeting because someone was not able to attend due to a religious holiday
or if a business you do business with was closed for a holiday that your business does
not observe, what would you do?
4. Distribute and review Handout 2. Instruct each small group to create a list of holidays,
either for their own or another culture. Distribute Handout 3. Ask them to list the holidays
they discussed in the appropriate months. Discuss and note holidays that are observed in
different months because a lunar calendar or other reckoning of time or seasons is used.
5. Reconvene the whole group. Ask participants to tell how many holidays they came up
with and ask them to give examples of how these holidays might impact them in business.
Encourage participants to take these sheets home and continue to develop their own inter-
national holiday calendar. Remind them that being aware of holidays and important dates
helps them learn about other cultures.
Debrief
Sum up the activity. While the handout “Holidays around the World” lists a number of
important days, emphasize that people working in a global environment need to find out as
much as they can about the cultures they interact with on a daily basis, and especially about
how holidays impact teamwork. The more they know, the better the working relationship
across cultures can become.
Celebrations
Reproducedfrom50ActivitiesforAchievingCulturalCompetence,byJonamayLambert,
SelmaMyers,andGeorgeSimons,editors.Amherst,MA:HRDPress,2000,2008
[Handout1]
Celebrations and You
1. List the holidays that are most important in your life.
2. List other holidays different from your own that you are aware of, and write a sentence or
two about them.
3. What role do you think these holidays play when it comes to working with people from other
countries, or when you are in an international work environment? How do holidays impact
work?

Get 50 Activities for Achieving Cultural Competence now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from nearly 200 publishers.