7 Reasons To Celebrate Kwanzaa This Year

December 12, 2014  |  

Kwanzaa is an Afrocentric holiday which observes the first fruits of the harvest celebrated by many African-Americans all over the country from December 26 to January 1. This cultural festival was started in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga as a way of inspiring African-Americans to celebrate our history as a people and think about the richness of black life. As a part of the holiday’s customs, the family will light a candle each night which represents one of the seven guiding principles known as the Nguza Saba. On December 31 , observers host a huge feast and exchange gifts with meaning on January 1.

If you’re considering celebrating Kawnzaa this year, you don’t have to look any further than the principles to decide why should do it. Here are seven reasons why celebrating Kwanzaa is a good idea.

Umoja (Unity)

We’ve all the heard the saying united we stand and divided we fall. Well, there is some truth to that. Kwanzaa is an opportunity to band together as a family unit and evaluate how our individual actions impact the family as a whole. The goal is to be in synchronicity with each other so that everyone can grow collectively. Stronger families make stronger communities.

Kujichagulia (Self-Determination)

There are times in life where have to depend on others because none of us are an island. We will all need help from somebody in our lives, but that shouldn’t keep us from being self-motivated and willing to work on our own behalf. Self Determination is a principle that reminds us to be goal centered and to do our best to be a benefit to our families and communities, and not a burden.

Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility)

If nothing else, most moms could use some extra help around the house. The concept of Ujima is all about working together and helping each other out. By employing this principle, we can remind our kids the importance of doing their chores and how it is their responsibility to help some of the younger kids in the family.  I always tell my kids that if we work together to get things that we don’t like to do done, it frees up more time to get to the fun stuff that we actually like. Sometimes, they actually go for it.

Ujaama (Cooperative Economics)

This holiday season is a great time to employ cooperative economics. This principle encourages us to use our money for the betterment of our own institutions. Use this holiday season to patronize black-owned and operated businesses and put this principle into play.

Nia (Purpose)

One of the key things to remember when celebrating Kwanzaa is that the holiday is done in the spirit of living our lives with a sense of meaning and purpose. This principle reminds us to stay focused on what we hope to accomplish in our families and to observe all the principles in a way that keeps will

Kuumba (Creativity)

One of the unique things about Kwanzaa is that the gift giving ceremony isn’t about buying and exchanging expensive gifts. Instead, those celebrating the holiday are encouraged to make meaningful gifts for one another using their own creative talents. Kuumba is the principle that encourages us to use our creative abilities to beautify the lives of others and the communities we live in. By exchanging handmade gifts of meaning, we have a chance to show others how much they really mean to us.

Imani (Faith)

Everybody doesn’t have the same belief system, but most of us have faith in something bigger than ourselves. Whether it is faith in a supreme being, or faith in humanity, we should always maintain the hope that things can and will get better. Celebrating Kwanzaa is great way to go into the new year with a renewed sense of hope and promise.

 

Will you celebrate Kwanzaa this year?

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