I have happily convinced my boyfriend that this year we should celebrate Kwanzaa! He and I are not religious, we believe in a higher power and the universe’s energy.
In addition, we both descend from the African diaspora and strongly identify with Black culture. We also identify with Puerto Rican culture and the Spanish language, but first and formost we feel we are Black and we are proud of our mixed heritages. (His father is Jamaican and Panamanian. His mother is Puerto Rican. As for me, my mother is Puerto Rican and my biological father is Black and Puerto Rican). Also a fun fact about our Puerto Ricanness is that our Spanish is mixed with African tongues as we are mixed of Taíno, African and European blood!
(Shamik and I at Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, NY: Summer 2015)
Yes, you get it we are Black and we are PROUD!
So we definitely did not care to celebrate Christmas, but I thought about Kwanzaa and wanted to understand what it really meant. I did my research and decided we must celebrate our African heritage.
- Kwanzaa CELEBRATES and HONORS our African heritage.
- Anyone can celebrate it, no matter their religion or if they are non-religious!
It celebrates 7 principles (Nguzo Saba ) that we should carry out all year round
Each of the seven days of Kwanzaa is dedicated to one of the following principles(which are written in Swahili and English, as follows: (These are written to my understanding)
- Umoja (Unity): To strive for and to maintain unity in our families, communities, and the human race.
- Kujichagulia (Self-Determination): To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves.
- Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility): To build and maintain our community together by making our brothers’ and sisters’ problems our problems, and then to solve them together.
- Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics): To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together. This is a must!
- Nia (Purpose): To make our collective careers the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
- Kuumba (Creativity): To always do as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.
- Imani (Faith): To believe with all our hearts in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.
These are all values that we should always practice and not only commemorate the week of Kwanzaa, December 26-January 1st, but it is such an awesome, uniting reminder!
To continue, hopefully tonight we will go out to buy supplies to make our Kinara (candle holder) because we are college students on a budget!
Please follow me on our journey of our first Kwanzaa! I will be posting each time I prepare or have a thought about preparation. I will also post how to celebrate it as I prepare. Remember it is my first year and I am learning as we go 😉
There are 20 days until Kwanzaa and I am ecstatic!
- Feel free to leave comments or suggestions to make our first Kwanzaa super special!!
- Your thoughts matter 🙂