Happy Kwanzaa to everyone on the planet!
The air is a buzz around my house. We are getting ready for one of my favorite holidays of the year, Kwanzaa. I have been celebrating Kwanzaa for over 25 years. It seems like yesterday when I began to embrace the principles of Kwanzaa. When I starting celebrating Kwanzaa, my family members thought I had lost my mind. My folks had never heard of Kwanzaa They were very uncomfortable with the concepts involved in celebrating Kwanzaa. My former sister-in-law, asked me if she had to give up celebrating Christmas. And my sister informed me that she was not giving up attending church Christmas Day. My entire tribe was out of sorts regarding Kwanzaa. I shared with them that Kwanzaa was not a new holiday. Maybe it was new to them but not new to world. Kwanzaa originated in 1966 and was introduced by Dr. Maulana Karenga. Kwanzaa is celebrated from December 26 – January 1.
I heard about Kwanzaa through a friend. She invited me to attend a celebration. The first thing she said was Kwanzaa was a cultural celebration and not a religious holiday. It does not interfere with Christmas and you do not need to be of any particular religion to celebrate. You also don’t have to celebrate it instead of Christmas. She continued explaining and said that any race can participant in the festivities. I read that on average around 10 million people in the country celebrate Kwanzaa every year.
I didn’t know what to expect at the celebration. I was actually kinda of nervous. The ceremony began with African drumming and dancing. Something inside me began to connect with the drums. It was as if my Soul was dancing to the beat. After the drumming stopped a young man opened the celebration with a request. He requested the permission of what he called the village elders to begin the celebration. A ninety year old woman and a ninety-three year old man gave their permission. The older gentleman was beaming with pride and the woman said she was honored that the community ask for her permission. It was a very special moment for her.
We paid homage to our Ancestors and acknowledged their journey and contribution through use of Libation. It was amazing to call out my mom’s name and invite her energy and presence to be with the community.
Part II soon to follow.