Habari Gani Frugal people!!
It’s almost the end of the year, but the celebration is not over!! It’s Kwanzaa time!! That means it’s a time to reconnect with our African Heritage. In case you’re not aware, let me briefly share.
Kwanzaa: A Celebration of Family, Community, and Culture, was founded by Maulana Karenga in 1966 and is the first specifically African American holiday, giving us an opportunity to celebrate us and our history. Kwanzaa, meaning first fruits of the harvest, is celebrated using symbols: a decorative mat on which other symbols are placed, corn and other crops, a candle holder with seven candles, called a kinara, a communal cup for pouring libations, gifts, a poster of the seven principles, and a black, red, and green flag, representing the seven principles.
It’s easy to remember when Kwanzaa begins, because it’s always the day after Christmas and takes us through the beginning of the year. Here we’re introduced to Nguzo Saba, the seven principles of Kwanzaa. Each day is dedicated to a principle. You can find ways to celebrate with your family and friends on each day. Now, let’s celebrate!!
December 26 - Umoja (Unity): To strive for and to maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.
Celebrate: Come together for family dinner and eat together. Everyone bring a dish to share, emphasizing fruit and vegetables or prepare an African dish. Spending time together is the greatest way to promote Umoja in your family.
December 27 - Kujichagulia (Self-Determination): To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves.
Celebrate: Pull out your history books, especially ones from your family history. Enlist the help of the elders and sit at their feet. Listen to the stories of those that came before us, noting their pride and inspiring tales. You know we love to tell stories, so be sure to pass on this oral history and tradition.
December 28 - Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility): To build and maintain our community together and make our brothers' and sisters' problems our problems, and to solve them together.
Celebrate: This is a day to simply be kind to others, especially those in our communities. It’s a day to think of others, so practicing random acts of kindness like picking up litter, running errands for neighbors and serving food at the soup kitchen are good ways to do just that. Volunteer your time somewhere today. It doesn’t cost you anything and it’s good for the soul.
December 29 - Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics): To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.
Celebrate: This is my favorite, using talents before money!! Whether you’re giving gifts for Christmas, Kwanzaa or even a birthday, don’t spend money you don’t have. Instead, opt to make something creative. Sew or knit? Make a blanket or article of clothing. Handy? Create something. My Dad once made kitchen footstools for gifts. They were both helpful and meaningful because he made them with his own hands. We have talents we can use to bless others, so let’s!!
December 30 - Nia (Purpose): To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
Celebrate: This grace-based principle is one challenge us to do daily. One concern in our community is our children. We can restore our greatness by starting in them, our future. Mentor a child, especially teens. Setting a good example helps them understand their worth and responsibility to our community.
December 31 - Kuumba (Creativity): To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.
Celebrate: Shouldn’t all our days be about serving others? Take on another family member’s chore, just because. Gather fruit, a notepad and pen, fuzzy socks, a crossword puzzle and a bottle of water. Put it in a basket and present it to a coworker or friend. It’s a thoughtful way to spread beauty in the form of kindness.
January 1 - Imani (Faith): To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.
Celebrate: The beauty of Kwanzaa is it’s a cultural holiday, one where all faiths can participate. On this last day, share your traditions with someone else and partake in theirs. We all live on this earth and we can coexist here. Let’s make it easy by sharing for understanding. It will make the world a better place.
Learn more about Kwanzaa, it’s principles, symbols and ceremonies by visiting http://www.officialkwanzaawebsite.org/NguzoSaba.shtml
Kwanzaa allows us to commemorate our heritage and ourselves; it is also frugalicious!! Enjoy!!