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I AM NOT PREJUDICED!!??...(Explaining Kwanzaa)
I AM NOT PREJUDICED!!??...(Explaining Kwanzaa)
I had a discussion today with a friend of mine...who accused me of being prejudiced!!
"You're kidding", I replied..."how could you even suggest that?"
"well, she said, "you just assume that no caucasion would even be interested in knowing what Kwanzaa is or how it came about. You think that most of us are only concerned about our own lives and don't care about other cultures, unless we're guilted into it".
Well...ok...after thinking about it awhile...maybe there is some truth to what she says. Maybe I do have a somewhat elitist attitude toward it all. She may well be right a about some of my attitude. I guess we could all stand to be a bit more inclusive in our thinking regarding people different than ourselves.
(To S. I'm truly sorry if that's the impression I gave you. I consider you a good friend. Love you)
So here goes...for anybody out there who may actually be interested in knowing:
Kwanzaa is a 7 day festival that begins on December 26th and ends on January 1st. It was developed by Dr. Maulana Karenga...in celebration of the African heritage of African Americans.
First observed in 1966, Kwanzaa focuses on the traditional African values of family, community responsibility, commerce, and self-improvement. It is not affiliated with any religion or political party. It is not intended to replace Christmas. It is simply a time of reaffirming African-American people, their ancestors and culture. Kwanzaa, which means "first fruits of the harvest" in the African language Kiswahili.
Since its founding in, Kwanzaa has come to be observed by more than 18 million people worldwide, as reported by the New York Times.
Kwanzaa is based on the Nguzo Saba (seven guiding principles), one for each day of the observance.
Umoja (oo-MO-jah) Unity stresses the importance of togetherness for the family and the community, which is reflected in the African saying, "I am We," or "I am because We are."
Kujichagulia (koo-gee-cha-goo-LEE-yah) Self-Determination requires that we define our common interests and make decisions that are in the best interest of our family and community.
Ujima (oo-GEE-mah) Collective Work and Responsibility reminds us of our obligation to the past, present and future, and that we have a role to play in the community, society, and world.
Ujamaa (oo-JAH-mah) Cooperative economics emphasizes our collective economic strength and encourages us to meet common needs through mutual support.
Nia (NEE-yah) Purpose encourages us to look within ourselves and to set personal goals that are beneficial to the community.
Kuumba (koo-OOM-bah) Creativity makes use of our creative energies to build and maintain a strong and vibrant community.
Imani (ee-MAH-nee) Faith focuses on honoring the best of our traditions, draws upon the best in ourselves, and helps us strive for a higher level of life for humankind, by affirming our self-worth and confidence in our ability to succeed and triumph in righteous struggle.
CELEBRATING KWANZAA The items used in the celebration.
* Kinara (candle holder);
* Mkeka (placemat preferably made of straw);
* Mazao (crops, i.e., fruits and vegetables);
* Vibunzi/Muhindi (ears of corn to reflect the number of children in the household);
* Kikombe cha umoja (communal unity cup);
* Mishumaa saba (seven candles, one black, three
red, and three green); and
* Zawadi (gifts that are enriching).
The colors of Kwanzaa are black, red and green. These are the colors used when decorating the home. Black, red and green streamers, balloons, cloth, flowers, and African prints can be hung. . Original art and sculpture may also be used.
The land of Africa; hope
Color of the African race
Blood shed by African ancestors
GIFTS Kuumba (creativity) is greatly encouraged. Kuumba is one of the seven principles. It brings a sense of personal satisfaction...and embodies the spirit of Kwanzaa when you make the symbols/gifts yourself. The giving of gifts during Kwanzaa should be affordable and of an educational or artistic nature. Gifts are usually exchanged between parents and children and traditionally given on January 1st, the last day of Kwanzaa. However, gift giving during Kwanzaa may occur at any time.
THE KWANZAA FEAST OR KARAMU The Kwanzaa Karumu is traditionally held on December 31st . It is a very special event as it is the one Kwanzaa event that brings us closer to our African roots. The Karamu is a communal and cooperative effort. It is important to decorate the place where the Karamu will be held, (e.g., home, community center, church) in an African motif that utilizes black, red, and green color scheme. Traditionally, the program involved welcoming, remembering, reassessment, recommitment and rejoicing, concluded by a farewell statement and a call for greater unity.
Tamshi la Tambiko (Libation Statement) It is tradition to pour libation in remembrance of the ancestors on all special occasions.
Kwanzaa, is such an occasion, as it provides
us an opportunity to reflect on our African past and American present. Water is suggested as it
holds the essence of life and should be placed
in a communal cup and poured in the direction
of the four winds; north, south, east, and west.
It should then be passed among family members
and guests who may either sip from
the cup or make a sipping gesture.
* For The Motherland cradle of civilization.
* For the ancestors and their indomitable spirit
* For the elders from whom we can learn much.
* For our youth who represent the promise for tomorrow
* For our people the original people.
* For our struggle and in remembrance of those who have struggled on our behalf.
* For Umoja the principle of unity which should guide us in all that we do.
* For the creator who provides all things great and small.
12/30/2005 10:29 am
K.M.S. Interesting, thanks for a full explanation and details of Kwanzaa!|
12/30/2005 12:05 pm
K.M.S. Interesting, thanks for a full explanation and details of Kwanzaa!
You mean you actually read all that?!
12/30/2005 4:51 pm
i have celebrated kwanzaa many times. i rather enjoy|
the seven very apt principals. a very dear couple
open their home every year and invite mostly
caucasions to celebrate one of the days. we read
poems or tell stories pertaining to the principal
for that day. this year, some road bumps have come
my way, but i am still hoping to make it over to
at least celebrate one day with them.
12/30/2005 5:49 pm
It's wonderful that they share this with you.
The ceremonies can be very warm and beautiful.
I think they can bring a stronger sense of community
and understanding among people.