Gütersloh, 12/31/2016

Bertelsmann’s Intercultural Calender: Holidays in 2016

Saint Patrick’s Day, national holiday of Ireland
Diwali, the festival of lights

Subject: Society, Employees
Country: Germany
Category: Project

Launched at the beginning of 2016, Bertelsmann’s intercultural calendar offers employees from all over the world an opportunity to contribute information on important national, cultural and religious holidays in the countries where Bertelsmann operates. These contributions are a testimonial to our colleagues’ diversity of backgrounds and lives. Different holidays have been submitted, for example: Diwali, Corpus Christi and Saint Patricks’s Day.

John Thorp, Arvato SCM, 03/17/2016
Saint Patrick’s Day, national holiday of Ireland

March 17th in Ireland is Saint Patrick’s Day, our national holiday. Arvato in Ireland closes for this national holiday normally, but we have opened in the past when customer orders have to be filled. Most colleagues attend the many parades with their families and children, it is not an in house company celebration. There are no parties etc. like say at Christmas.
The city of Dublin and many small towns around Ireland have parades; the Dublin festival is now a weeklong celebration. However, the first parade that was on St. Patrick's Day took place in the United States and was held on March 17th, 1762 in New York. In Ireland, on a yearly basis, about 1 million people take part in the St. Patrick's Festival in Dublin. This celebration includes parades, concerts, plays, and fireworks.
Saint Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland, Nigeria, Australia and Montserrat. He used the Shamrock the National Flower of Ireland to explain the Holy Trinity to pagans. Moreover he is known for driving the snakes from Ireland. It is true there are no snakes in Ireland, but there probably never have been, Ireland was separated from the rest of the continent at the end of the Ice Age. As in many old pagan religions, serpent symbols were common and often worshipped. Driving the snakes from Ireland was probably symbolic of putting an end to that pagan practice.

Gregor Selbach, Media Group RTL Germany, 05/26/2016
Corpus Christi – Bringing Heaven to Earth

Corpus Christi is a particularly important holiday to me. On this religious holiday the real presence of Jesus Christ is celebrated by Catholics worldwide in the sacrament of the Eucharist. This aspect is one of the basic distinctions between Catholic and Protestant beliefs. For Protestants, the wafer and wine are "only" symbolic, whereas according to Catholic doctrine they are actually transformed into the body and blood of Christ in the course of the Eucharist. In many places, services are held in the open air with a subsequent procession through the town or village. The houses and gardens on the processional route are decorated with festive flags and pennants. At intermediate stations, open-air altars are set up and festively decorated, usually with elaborate pictures of flowers. The Catholic faith, which usually remains hidden behind church walls, "goes public" at Corpus Christi.
In the community where I was raised, the annual parish feast at the community center and parish garden was traditionally celebrated on Corpus Christi. As children, we always looked forward to this. What I especially like about the Corpus Christi procession in Cologne is the mass at Roncalliplatz and the diversity of the procession participants. Catholic orders of knights, student associations, craft guilds, scouts and other Catholic associations participate in the procession with their flags and uniforms. The numerous, regularly participating foreign communities reflect Cologne’s multicultural nature.

Rahul Kumar, Dorling Kindersley Publishing,10/30/2016
Diwali, the festival of lights

As an Indian and a Hindu by birth, one of the most festive and joyous occasions for me would be the day of Diwali, the festival of lights, which invariably falls around the misty, salubrious and lovely mid-October to mid-November autumn period. Diwali is a day to celebrate victory of good over evil, light over darkness and happiness over sorrow. It marks the return from exile of Rama,the seventh avatar of Vishnu, upon whose life-story the epic poem "Ramayana", considered one of the most sacred texts by followers of Hinduism, was based thousands of years ago.
Celebrations involve a morning visit to a temple, the lighting of candles and diyas (earthen pots) all over the house in the evening, a small prayer session, distributing sweets and a modern, customary round of firecrackers. The lanterns, diyas and multi-coloured lights make for an incredibly extraordinary sight when every visible edifice around is lit, and articulated as a brilliant luminosity of a World culture and human effort!
In our Dorling Kindersley India office, we usually have a formal lunch organized within the premises, where everyone gathers to have a meal together and exchanges wishes. The official routine is not affected much as just a few people take the day off; we plan accordingly and the work is taken care of. All for the joy of Diwali and the comfort that it brings!