December is a month generally associated with religious holidays, family gatherings, and gift giving. In the spirit of peace on Earth and good will toward all mankind, this year think about celebrating a lesser-known December holiday – International Human Solidarity Day.
International Human Solidarity Day (IHSD) was established by the United Nations in December of 2005. The UN General Assembly identified that one of the universal and fundamental values that all people should be working towards is solidarity. Their aims were and are to encourage people everywhere to celebrate unity in diversity as well as solidarity in fighting poverty.
We are often reminded that peace on earth and good will to all are important to remember not just in December, but year-round. Likewise, the ideas behind IHSD are vital to humankind all year long.
In years past, the United States has been called a Melting Pot, but over time many have started to prefer the term “Mixing Bowl.” The latter phrase would indicate that we don’t desire for everyone to melt together into one indistinguishable race, but that we’d prefer to mix with other groups while still retaining our individual identities. Rather than erase or forget traditions, we can celebrate our own and those of others.
This year, in the spirit of solidarity, find ways to learn about the diverse traditions of those around you. Ask your Jewish friends about their Hanukah traditions; find out what exactly Kwanzaa is and what it celebrates; learn the traditions of Diwali; celebrate Ramadan by fasting for a day with your Muslim friends – you get the idea. The more we can celebrate with our diverse friends, the stronger our understanding and solidarity between diverse peoples will become.
One of the best things about a diverse group coming together is the awareness of the needs of their individual groups. This aligns with the UN’s second goal: to fight poverty through solidarity. Diverse groups can come together to address conditions and needs of their people, whether it’s in a struggling town in the US or a group fighting poverty in another country.
So while taking a break from work and school in the upcoming weeks, think about not only coming together with family and like-minded friends, but reach out and come together with those who might be different from you. Accepting and even celebrating differences can bring a group together and be the driving factor towards that oft-sung about peace on Earth and good will to men.