At the University of Wollongong there is so much diversity to honour, especially when Christians are demanding all the attention with their mangers and sleigh bells, that the acting director of “employment equity and diversity” sent colleagues a chirpy reminder that Christmas is about more than the Messiah.
And please, do heed Ms Croft’s advice: If you come across a Rastafarian — or an “Etheopian Rastafarian”, as she puts it – making merry on January 7, resist any temptation to pull his dreadlocks or be otherwise less than “respectiful”, as it is the date on which Haile Selassie always opened his presents. The late ruler of Ethiopia is regarded as a deity by some red-eyed Jamaicans, which can happen if you start every day with a great big spliff.
Thoughtfully, Ms Croft apologises in advance, just in case she has overlooked a group, ethnicity, creed or manifestation of otherness — and she may indeed have to apologise, for she appears to have confused a Muslim feast, Milan un Nabi, with a well known Italian industrial centre.
That would be the first apology. The second might be for neglecting to mention the Jewish festival of Hannukah, which still had four days to run when Ms Croft sent out her email.
But not to worry. Let’s all have a very merry timkat and a happy Seijin Shiki!
On Behalf Of jcroft@**********
Sent: Friday, 20 December 2013 1:35 PM
We all know that Christmas and the traditional Christian celebrations (which have not been fully detailed here) are approaching. But, there are other occasions and festivities happening in December and January, that you may not know about. I have forwarded the list below so that you can appreciate just some of this diversity and be mindful and respectiful of the customs of all peoples in our community. If I have missed any religious or other days of special note I apologise in advance.
21 December – Summer Solstice (Pagan)
26 December – Zarathosht Diso (Zoroastrian)
1 January – Feast of St Basil (Orthodox Christian)& Gantan-sai (shinto)
6 January – Feast of Theophany (Orthodox Christian)
7 January – Christmas Day (Orthodox Christian & Etheopian Rastafari)
13 January – Milan un Nabi (Islam) & Maghi (Sikh)
14 January – Makar Sankranti (Hindu)
15 January – Seijin Shiki (Shinto)
16-19 January – Mahayana New Year (Buddhist) & 16 Jan Tu B’Shevat (Jewish)
20 January – Timkat (Ethiopian Orthodox Christian)
31 January – Chinese New Year (Confucian, Daoist, Buddhist)
I hope you all enjoy time with family and friends on your sepcial days.
Acting Director, Employment Equity and Diversity