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Here at Impact, the holiday season is particularly festive. That’s because our colleagues hail from all over the world and from a multitude of cultural backgrounds. To help celebrate the diversity of our colleagues and to learn more about the various holidays we celebrate, we asked a few of them to share a few memories of this time of year and the traditions that come with it. We’ll start with two November celebrations: Diwali and Thanksgiving. 

Festival of Diwali –  November 12-16, 2020

Smita Pillai is an Impact senior customer success manager in the UK who grew up in India.

“Diwali is one of my favorite Indian festivals. Known as the festival of lights, it lasts for five days and is a spiritual and symbolic time for people to come together and share light, gifts, and joy with one another. It symbolises the victory of light over darkness, spreading the message of good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance. 

One of my family traditions was for the kids in the family to get together over the three-to-five days of Diwali. So it was always celebrated with a bunch of cousins staying over and all the laughter, games, fights, and high-pitched shrieking you can expect from seven to eight kids below the age of 12 spending five days together. 

We were supervised by my parents or some of my uncles and aunts (who mostly just let us be so long as we didn’t get into too much trouble). The uncles in the family usually spoilt us with lots of fireworks, although this stopped when I was about 10 when we became more conscious of the environmental impact of fireworks. 

Diyas (oil lamps) were placed in our homes and pretty patterns called ‘Rangoli’ (sand paintings) were traced outside our homes to welcome in luck and prosperity.

As with most festivals, food was always a highlight of Diwali. The festival for me is synonymous with Indian sweets called ‘Mithai’, and savory snacks called ‘Namkeen’, to balance off the sugar rush. 

Since I moved from India, Diwali hasn’t been nearly as festive for me.  There’s something about the feel of a celebration with masses of people that you just can’t replicate elsewhere. But it’s a festival I still love celebrating, and I’ve kept up some of my favorite Diwali traditions to this day, including sweets, candles, and lamps. I like dressing up in my Indian outfits, having friends over, and having them learn about the ceremony, celebrating the festival together, and connecting with my heritage.

I’m particularly partial to a few sparklers at this time too. They’re a great reminder of the joy some light and sparkle can bring to a dark evening.”

Thanksgiving – November 26, 2020

Caleb Sponholtz is a talent acquisition specialist for Impact in the United States.

“The idea of giving thanks at this time of year is nothing new. Around the world and for centuries, people have honored the harvest and change in season in various ways. From the German and Austrian Erntedankfest to the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival or Moon Festival to the Argentinian Fiesta Nacional de la Vendimia, the reaping of crops like wheat, rice, and grapes has been celebrated with parades, dance, feasting, and worship.

Here in the United States, the holiday of Thanksgiving can be traced all the way back to our first president, George Washington, although Abraham Lincoln first made it a national holiday in 1863. In this country, the holiday traditionally centers around family, feasting, and parades (i.e., turkey, stuffing, football, more turkey, and pumpkin pie). However, many Americans will also tell you that as a kid, the holiday of Thanksgiving meant dressing up in paper bags and colored feathers or black-and-white construction paper to recreate the “First Thanksgiving” between pilgrims and the Wampanoag in 1621, an event that has been widely proven to be a complete myth.

For my wife and me, autumn happens to be our favorite time of year. We love the temperature, the fall colors, and the opportunities for adventure. When Thanksgiving comes around, that usually means a week off of work for my wife, who is a teacher. We certainly have hosted the traditional Thanksgiving meal with relatives and friends from far and near a time or two. However, being vegetarian and with no children of our own, we have also taken this time to break with tradition a bit.

Currently living in Paso Robles, California, we are lucky to be surrounded not only by great wine but also fantastic local farmers and farmers’ markets. Yes, our Thanksgiving meal may include a Tofurkey, but you’re also going to get local wine, freshly made goat cheese, and fresh vegetables. And when we don’t host, we’re on the road. We’ve thrown our dogs into the car and tent camped in the Sierra Nevadas. We’ve taken our mothers to Europe. Last year, our Thanksgiving feast was held beneath the Eiffel Tower with family and friends. Wherever we happen to be and with whomever we happen to be, Thanksgiving has become a time to simply celebrate and be grateful, which is what has always been the point.”

Want to work with people from around the world in a culture where diversity is celebrated? Come find a place here at Impact.

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