I’ve been meaning to write about Kwanzaa since the day after Christmas, but all types of holiday stuff had me too busy. I can’t say that I actually participate in Kwanzaa, but I think that people have the wrong idea of what it exactly is. Some think of it as an alternative to Christmas when its not actually so. In fact, Kwanzaa is a cultural holiday versus being a religious one. Kwanzaa was “created” in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga, a professor of Africana Studies at California State University during the Black Freedom Movement. t is celebrated December 26-January 1. The name Kwanzaa is derived from the phrase “matunda ya kwanza” which means “first fruits” in Swahili. Its thought to reflect the communities concern for cultural grounding and the unity and self-determination associated with the movement. Kwanzaa was created to reaffirm and restore our roots in African Culture-making it a reconstruction of African Culture.
Kwanzaa is said to represent a time of ingathering of the people to reaffirm the bonds between them. It’s also a time of special reverence for the creator and creation in thanks for blessings and the beauty of creation. It also represents commemoration of the past in pursuit of its lessons and in honor of its models of human excellence, a.k.a our ancestors. Additional first fruit celebrations include a time for re-commitment to our highest cultural ideals in our ongoing effort to always bring forth the best of the African cultural thought and practice, and a time for celebration of the good: the good of life, family, community, culture, the ordinary, the divine, the natural, and the social.
Kwanza is built upon 7 principals. I remember in elementary school during the Holiday play, which was every year no matter what grade you were in, we had to recite the seven principals of Kwanzaa. I remember BET used to have a Kwanzaa special. This was the old BET, not the crap as of late. The BET I remember had shows like Teen Summit. OH yeah! Back to the 7 principals of Kwanzaa,ne is celebrated each day of Kwanzaa.
1. Umoja: Unity
2. Kujichagulia: Self Determination (I just used to love saying this).
3. Ujima: Collective Work and Responsibility
4. Ujamaa: Cooperative Economics
5. Nia: Purpose
6. Kuumba: Creativity
7. Imani: Faith
I think Kwanzaa isn’t widely practice because no one is really taught about it. Sure, in class they glaze over it, but no one is instructing people on how to practice the ceremony. No one is helping kids light the Kinara or anything. Whereas we are socialized about Christmas from nearly birth. Even as a child you are instructed on the art of gift giving. From a kid you write letters to Santa, or Saint Nick however you want to refer to him. Christmas is truly lacking in its origins but people are still caught up in the commercialization of it. Going into massive credit card debt every year while other holidays such as Kwanzaa and even Hanukkahs (did I spell that right) are briefly acknowledged. Who’s fault is this? People or the businesses? If we weren’t inspired by all these shiny and technological they wouldn’t have us in this continuous consumer warp.
And yeah.. I know some people like to be funny, but I hate to read ignorant crap like this…
Ignorant Blog-Read at your own risk…