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Happy Kwanzaa For All

Kwanzaa Is the seven-day cultural festival starting December 26 and ending January 1st, which celebrates family, community and culture. Participants enjoy feasts, music, dance, poetry and share narratives, ending with a day dedicated to reflection and re-commitment to Seven Communitarian Principles:

  1. Unity
  2. Self determination
  3. Collective work and responsibility
  4. Cooperative economics
  5. Purpose
  6. Creativity
  7. Faith

Zenobia Jeffries, in an article in Yes! Magazine  writes about translating these principles into new traditions:

  • The principle of Kuumba (creativity) “teaches us to do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial for future generations than we inherited it.”
  • The principle of Ujamaa (cooperative economics) “teaches us to build and maintain our own stores and other businesses and to profit from them together.”
  • The principle of Ujima (collective work and responsibility) “teaches us to build and maintain our community together and make our brothers’ and sisters’ problems our problems and to solve them together.”
  • The principle of Umoja (unity) “teaches us to strive for and to maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.”
  • The principle of Imani (faith) “tells us to believe with all our hearts in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.”

The early years of the Kwanzaa holiday (started in 1966) were solely an African-American celebration in resistance to racism, white supremacy and a rejection of the celebration of Christmas, but the holiday eventually evolved to embrace all people, no matter their race or religion.

It seems to me that we would all benefit if we embraced the principles and evolved communitarian purposes of Kwanzaa. Why not make the celebrations universal and new traditions for all of us during the week following Christmas?

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