Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Has Kwanzaa Become Irrelevant?

Day 1. Umoja means unity.
Day 2. Kujichagulia means self-determination.
Day 3. Ujima means working together.
Day 4. Ujamaa means supporting each other.
Day 5. Nia means purpose.
Day 6. Kuumba means creativity.
Day 7. Imani means faith, especially faith in ourselves.

It's the end of Day 3 of Kwanzaa and I haven't even lit a candle. The truth is, my Kinara broke last year during packing and I never replaced it.

When my daughter was little, I didn't let a year go by without celebrating at least the first day with something special. We would even get special African outfits. I thought it was important for her to have some sense of culture, even if it was rooted in America and not Africa. I felt the need to make sure that she understood what it meant to be Black in America.

But somewhere along the way, as she got older, and I started working more, the day after Christmas simply became December 26th and then the days all ran together until the New Year.

I'm not even sure if I cooked black eyed peas last January 1st.

This year, I thought about Kwanzaa. A lot. But I didn't order any cards online in time and it seemed really silly to purchase Hallmark Kwanzaa cards. I mean that's not even supporting Black-owned business, is it?

And now that we're halfway through Kwanzaa, I'm really sad. Sad that I missed yet another opportunity to celebrate something that is just for us - by us.

If the Lord lets me see another year, I promise to try harder to put at least an honest effort into pulling off Kwanzaa.

Is it just me or have too many of us forgotten to take the time to reflect on Dr. Maulana Karenga's hard work?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Interesting observation. I haven't seen any newspaper articles about Kwanzaa this year. In years past, there would be huge inserts in all of the African American newspapers. Well, come to think of it, there aren't any widely-distributed African American newspapers - at least not in my area.

Don't give up on yourself for this year. You still have a few days to design and send e-cards to close friends and relatives. You can also spread your African cloth on your dining table for an informal, just-your-household-family dinner featuring green veggies this weekend.

I've never been on to light candles, but if you start looking early enough, you just might be able to find some Kwanzaa LED battery-powered candles in the red, black and green colors.

In any event, "Peace and Soul".