Choose Compassion

November​ 10,​ 2021

Our mission: At Choose Chicago, we “Choose Compassion” and are committed to fostering an inclusive and respectful work culture with a brilliant mix of people because we are equally different. We firmly believe in the strength and power of our diverse group of partners, employees, and clients who drive business and innovation while building a collaborative connection within our community and the neighborhoods we serve.

A message from Roz Stuttley: Director, Equity Diversity and Inclusion

Eat, drink, and be merry!

This time of year may be the perfect backdrop to settle on the couch, turn on the Hallmark channel or listen to your favorite holiday season tunes.

There are also a lot of fun traditions for holiday and winter gatherings.

In this issue, we invite you to explore cultural meals and celebrations, perhaps a great opportunity to add a new cultural twist to your end-of-year festivities.

There’s so much to be thankful for and many reasons and styles of celebration! Enjoy and yoi otoshi wo

With compassion,

Roz Stuttley
Director, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
Choose Chicago/Choose Chicago Foundation

P.S. Fun fact - “Yoi otoshi wo” means have a good year or happy new year in Japan, but it can only be said only up until the new year begins. When the new year begins the phrase “akemashite omedetô” is used to greet someone with a happy new year expression.

Cultural Winter Holidays
Learn about a few unique winter cultural celebrations
by Naomi Hattori and Jimmy Mundo

Japanese new year celebration - Ohshogatsu

In Japan, the most important holiday is the celebration of the new year from Dec.​ 31 to Jan.​ 3 called ohshogatsu; this is the equivalent of Thanksgiving and Christmas combined. On the eve of the new year, temple bells ring 108 times: 8 times to ring out the old year and 100 times to usher in the new year. There are also a number of rituals surrounding food such as eating soba (buckwheat noodles) to symbolize longevity (length of noodle), mochi (rice cake) soup called ozoni as a wish for future prosperity, and osechi ryori, which are specific dishes with various good meanings for the new year.    

Native American solstice celebration — Soyal

Soyal is a traditional solstice celebration which is held by the Hopi Indians on the day and night of the winter solstice. The Soyal Ceremony begins on the shortest day of the year, and symbolizes the second phase of Creation at the Dawn of Life. Its prayers and rituals implement a plan of life for the coming year, ceremonially turning back the sun toward its summer path. During the longest ceremony on the ceremonial cycle, lasting up to 16 days, sacred rituals are performed in underground chambers called kivas. Many ceremonies involve dancing and singing; the kachinas may even bring gifts to the children. At Soyal time elders pass down stories to children, teaching pivotal lessons like respecting others. The Hopi, The Peaceful Ones (Hopitu Shinumu), believe everything that will occur during the year is arranged at Soyal.

Mexico’s Christmas celebration — Las Posadas

Las Posadas, celebrated throughout Mexico and Central America, is Spanish for “The Inns.” It honors the journey of Mary and Joseph from Nazareth to Bethlehem in search of lodging. During each night of this nine-day festival, a small child dressed as an angel leads a procession through towns and cities. Children wear gold robes and carry candles along with pictures of Mary and Joseph. Adults follow, many of them playing music, as they stop at houses to ask for lodging. When they are refused lodging per the original story, they read Bible passages and sing Christmas carols. Following the procession, mass is held each night, followed by the breaking of piñata, usually shaped like a star in honor of the one that led the three wise men to Jesus’ birth site.

Becoming a Choose Compassion Advocate

Resources provided by Anthony Molino

12 Winter Holidays from Around the World
Explore unique winter holiday celebrations, in honor of the 12 days of the Yuletide season or Christmastide.

Let’s Celebrate:  Special Days Around the World
Discover cultural significance with this wonderful kid-friendly book and read aloud resource by Kate DePalma!

Holiday Traditions Celebrated Around the World
Have you ever wondered why Diwali is celebrated? What the significance of the Chinese New Year is? Why Muslims fast during Ramadan? Fret no more - and check out this diverse list of cultural celebrations that occur throughout the year.

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