Holidays are as different as the individuals who observe them, yet they all have a way of bringing people together. Celebrating the diversity of faiths and traditions cultivates camaraderie. That’s what our Interfaith at ServiceNow Belonging Group espouses.
ServiceNow employees from different faiths find common threads throughout the various traditions. Here, they share their favorite parts of their holiday celebrations.
Sumeyya K., senior director of people technology and employee journey, takes joy in coming together in the interfaith group, sharing the celebrations of different faiths, and finding common ground. “In addition to trying out each other's wonderful food, we're all working toward patience, personal growth, and resilience,” she explains.
Ramadan is a dedicated month when Muslims reconnect with God, community, and self through fasting, charity, and prayer. The Islamic holiday of Eid al-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan and fasting.
“My favorite part about Ramadan is how it brings so many different cultures together and unifies us,” Sumeyya says. She enjoys the lights, festivities, and all the things that make the holidays wonderful.
“The amazing part about the 30 days of Ramadan is that you're going to the mosque more often and you're connecting back to the community,” adds Shoeb S., senior support operations manager.
“It’s spiritual. You're resetting who you are as an individual. You're learning that you can do without all the material aspects of life and the things that we have in abundance, and really focusing on the true essence of why we're here in this life.”
The holidays can be challenging or lonely for some people. “Life doesn’t stop throwing you curveballs just because it’s a holiday season,” says Mark S., a content producer.
“One of the great lessons that is consistent throughout the many schools of Buddhism that I’ll be thinking about this Bodhi Day is that nothing is permanent, and that we must work to find the peace, joy, and light that lives inside of ourselves.”
Bodhi Day, celebrated in December in most countries, is when Buddhists commemorate the day Buddha attained enlightenment. It’s said that Gautama Buddha (Shakyamuni) meditated under a type of fig tree, now called the Bodhi tree, for 49 days.
Amogh D., who is Hindu, bonded with Mark over the overlaps between Buddhism and Hinduism. “We view Buddha as one of the millions of gods,” Amogh says, “and both traditions share a reverence for nature.” He also appreciates the foods that accompany his favorite holidays, including Diwali, the festival of lights.
“Our Hindu holidays often coincide closely with nature, the weather, and farming,” he says. “So in winter, we eat delicious foods that generate heat, and sweet foods like jaggery—a special sugary ingredient.”
Sukkot is an important Jewish holiday celebrated for a week in the fall, five days after Yom Kippur, the holiest day. “It’s not widely known in the United States, but it’s an amazing holiday, all about happiness,” says Shaul B., staff systems engineer.
He and his family enjoy crafting the tent-like structure, called a sukkah, where the family sleeps and shares meals during the holiday. “Apartments in Israel are built with an area designed to put your sukkah,” Shaul says. “In recent years, they’ve even come up with new inventions like a foldable, transportable sukkah that we can take to the park and eat in. It’s very clever.”
Christmas commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ and is celebrated on Dec. 25. Adam H., senior program manager, loves celebrating Christmas with his family. “Most of our memories now are all about watching the kids enjoy Christmas and receive presents and surprises,” he says.
“I decorate the house and yard with so many lights, and a huge Santa, so the neighbors think I’m crazy. The dogs get their presents too. And then they just tear them up, and the house is just covered with shredded Christmas wrapping paper.”
Finding peace and comfort in connection
As co-chair of the Interfaith at ServiceNow Belonging Group, Dawn P., senior manager of technical training and enablement, appreciates the togetherness that results from celebrating different faiths and traditions.
“I feel so lucky to be part of a great company, and this interfaith community, where different faiths can be celebrated, where I can celebrate my own faith and talk about it with other people and learn and share,” she says. “I just feel like such a sense of belonging from that.”
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