It’s Kwanzaa time!
For my entire adult life, and a good deal of my childhood, my family has gathered around the kinara to discuss the Ngzuzo Saba (the seven principles) of Kwanzaa.
I absolutely love this “non-religious” holiday. Though, the way we celebrate highly favors Christianity. It was how we were raised, after all. I love the lighting of the candles, the food, and the presentation of gifts. But my favorite part of Kwanzaa, is sitting around the room, listening to my relatives tell the stories of how they are practicing the Nguzo Saba in their daily lives.
We talk about how we help each other out and how we pull together when any one of us is in crisis. We talk about our goals and how we plan to accomplish them. We talk about working together on projects and supporting black-owned businesses. We talk about our dreams and their fulfillment. We talk about creatively solving problems, our faith in each other and in ourselves and our creator.
We talk about our ancestors and their indomitable spirits. We talk about our babies (I believe the children are our future). We talk of those of us sandwiched in between, tasked with carrying on the oldest of our traditions and making them relevant in this fast-paced world to our children with five-minute attention spans.
Kwanzaa really is just an excuse for me to hang out with the people I love the most, and talk about how each one of us can and will make the world a better place.
Even if you do not celebrate Kwanzaa specifically, I highly recommend reflecting on the seven principles on your own. You have a whole week to do so.
The Nguzo Saba:
Ujima – Collective Work and responsibility
Ujamaa – Cooperative economics
Nia – Purpose
Kuumba – Creativity
Imani – Faith