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Diversity in the Workplace: Religious Events and Holidays, Part 2

By: ahirai
Diversity in the Workplace: Religious Events and Holidays, Part 2

As explored in Part 1, religion and the workplace are increasingly intertwined. With more workplace diversity than ever before, employees bring their religious beliefs to work – and expect to be accommodated.

In Part 2 we explore other must-know holidays, including Muslim, Buddhist and Hindi events.

Islamic Holidays and Schedule Needs

Some 23% of the world’s population practices Islam (#2 globally, #3 US). From the Middle East to countries such as Indonesia – which has the world’s largest Muslim population – there are profound effects on how and when business is done.  This is also increasingly true in Europe, with expanding Islamic immigrant populations. While the Muslim population in the United States is relatively small, some areas – such as Michigan – have larger Islamic populations.

Regular Islamic practices that must be accommodated include time and space for daily prayers – especially Friday noon – and washing before eating and prayer. Key Muslim holy days include:

  • Ramadan, (floating, varies annually)
  • Eid ad-Fitr, (floating)

To find out this year’s dates for floating holidays, please refer to online diversity calendar.

Buddhist Holidays

Buddhism is #4 globally, #4 US. Asian holidays often fall on weekends and thus have less impact on the domestic workplace. However, the global impact is much more noticeable.  In China, Vietnam, South Korea, Cambodia, and Thailand, New Year celebrations see many businesses and government offices closing for a few weeks. Buddhist holidays also affect countries such as Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand. These include

  • Buddha’s Birth, April 8
  • Bodhi Day (Buddha’s Enlightenment), December 8.

Many countries also have additional secular holidays.

Hindi Holidays

Hinduism, the dominant religion in India, is #3 worldwide, #5 US. It has many holidays, reflecting its extremely diverse culture. Some of the most important are

  • Maha Shivaratri (Shiva’s Night)  (floating, see our diversity calendar.)
  • Holi, Maha Shivaratri
  • Ram Navami (Birthday of Rama) (floating)
  • Vaisakhi (New Year), April 14
  • Janmashtami (Birth of Lord Krishna) (floating)
  • Dassehra (Durga Puja) (floating)
  • Diwali (floating)

Diversity – Opportunity and Challenge

Diversity presents many opportunities, from the workplace to the market. But it also presents challenges. To ensure your teams can work together effectively and productively, make sure your teams have access to a workplace diversity calendar.

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