Winter celebrations vary throughout the world and in different cultures. gLoBaL ERG members Janie Pinterits, Negest Williams, and Ziad Bousaleh share their celebrations and reflections for the holiday season.


Janie pinterits (dei program manager, DIRECTORATE)

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

I lived in Austria for many years with my family. There we celebrated the terrifying Krampus around December 5th. Krampus scares children to behave. I make Krampus brioche men (in this recipe there are good photos on how to cut the dough with a scissors to get the needed effects) to relieve the trauma, kind of.

This year I'll make a Krampus out of dried fruit to commemorate my introduction to Krampus when I was an 18 year old exchange student there for the first time. The grandmother gave me one of these and at first I thought it was a bad joke! But actually you'll see those and these little Krampus decorations all around this time of year. Here in Berkeley in the before times there were live celebrations I took part in. I'll miss them.


negest williams (Program manager, energy sciences area)

Happy holidays to the Lab community!

The opportunity to work in a multicultural environment is what attracted me to Berkeley Lab. I grew up in different countries around the world: I was born in Ethiopia and lived in Germany, India and the United States by the time I was 21 years old. Growing up between different countries had a transformative effect on my view of the world and gave me an opportunity to learn and value different customs and cultures.

I have fond memories of celebrating Christmas in Ethiopia. Christmas is a religious holiday for Ethiopian Orthodox Church members. Most people take part in a special Advent fast during the 40 days before Christmas. The church service starts at 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve, and ends at 3 a.m. on Christmas Day. After church service, families gather to enjoy a feast of a traditional meal of injera (flatbread) and wat (sauces made from different meats), followed by a traditional coffee ceremony, popcorn, and a frankincense aroma.

The next time you are in San Jose, please check out Zeni’s Ethiopian restaurant and don’t forget to order a traditional Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony!

Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony


ZIAD BOUSALEH (Senior Design Review / Construction Safety Specialist, EHS)

The winter holidays… A culture shock, an enchanting one I’d rather say! I grew up in Dubai in the 90’s, in a place and time where the winter holidays celebrations were rare, and restricted to small family gatherings. Occasionally, you’d see some winter holidays decorations on a small scale in certain shopping malls. Unless you were watching a Hollywood holiday movie, it was difficult to experience the winter holidays celebrations in real life. The holidays magic lived behind the silver screen. We didn’t believe that such magic could happen in real life, and that they were rather just exaggerated scenes created by Hollywood artists.

I witnessed my first real life holiday season when I moved to Canada to attend college. And oh it was shockingly magical! All the details we saw in movies were there in front of our eyes. The holiday lights, the music, the smells, the celebrations, the crowd, the spirit, it was like a scene from a Hollywood movie. It’s truly a season of happiness and joy. Experiencing the numerous celebrations, seeing families rejoicing, hearing children laughter uplift your soul, and fill your heart with euphoria. The holiday season is truly the most wonderful time of the year.

a very happy holidays to all from global erg!