Practicing Kwanzaa

Jambo! If I haven’t already told you, I do not celebrate most holidays in America. The specific holidays that I observe such as Kwanzaa, MLK Day, & Veterans Day have substance and elements of respect for mankind. Some things and some people should be celebrated. Kwanzaa is something that I think every single African American in the country should celebrate. Yes, every single one, including mixed races. I am sad to see that it is not fully acknowledged by many many people. Perhaps one day as a country, we will understand why Kwanzaa is so important. Kwanzaa lasts seven days and have seven principles:


Day 1: Umoja means unity. It focuses a lot on the elimination of selfishness in our lives. Taking time to think of others and uplift them in some way. My 2011 Umoja affirmation: “May I respect every person and speak gently remembering that each person may be doing the best that they can do. It is not for me to judge.”

 Bi Nka Bi: “Bite not each other”

Day 2: Kujichagulia highlights the ideas of self-determinatios, self-discipline, and self-control. It’s like stopping bad habits, getting up on time, not overspending. It emphasizes responsibility and having a well-balanced life. My 2011 Kujichagulia affirmation: “Let me seek, find, and maintain a balanced life. No overspending, pulling or picking, moving too fast, no anxiety. Breath, balance, stop!”

 Ani Bere A Enso Gya: self-control & self-discipline

Day 3: Ujima is collective work and responsibility. We are all members of social groups and we should be fruitful in those groups (family, spiritual partners,workplace), helping its members to grow forming a tight community. My 2011 Ujima affirmation is: ” I will be faithful and honest in the relationships that I have. I will only love, criticizing only when necessary from a calm and collect place. Love everyone and eliminate obstacles through constant communication.”

 Fihankra: Forms a house/compound respresenting security and safety

Day 4: Ujamaa is cooperative economics whereas we are all interdependent and our success depends upon all of us working together for a mutual benefit. We should share, not being wasteful or possessive. My 2011 Ujamaa affirmation: I will share all of my resources with and in like-minded social circles. Together, we will all benefit from my knowledge. I will be the library for change, giving and sharing the tools when I have them.”

 Funtummireku Denkyemmireku: Depicts two crocodiles sharing a common stomach. We are interdependent.

Day 5: Nia means “purpose.” We must reclaim our past, our heritage, and our Ancient African wisdom. Commit yourself to a certain standard of behavior by not accepting bad trrends. For instance, the sagging trend is suspicioulsy accepted by many women. I would not ever give a man the time of day that is wearing his pants off his behind. I see it as disrespectful to those around you. Showing your underwear is not ok. With Nia, we embrace our past, we can have a better understanding of our purpose in the present and our destiny as individuals and as people. My 2011 Nia affirmation: may I pray and ask for understanding in my life. May I spiritually connect with those that are most important to me. May I love hard and criticize less. Love is the key.

 Sankofa: The most popular of adinkra symbols, it means “it is never too late to go back and fetch what has been lost.”

Day 6: Kuumba means creativity and responding to the natural world around us. Wonder why sitting at the lake makes you think? Or imagining that you are somewhere in a secluded place, in silence with nature? Ordinary and organic things stir creativity. It opens our minds to new and innovative ideas. My 2011 Kuumba affirmation: May I always use my creativity to adorn myself, always staying true to who I am.

Owo Foro Adobe: Depicts a snake climbing a raffia palm, representing ingenuity, excellence, and performance of great feats.

Day 7: Imani means having faith. Did you know that God is within all of us, we just have to accept? I think God is our conscious minds, telling us when we are right and telling us when are wrong. The power we need to succeed will come from our spirituality. You must be in touch with your spirit and God in order to be prosper. This is most difficult, but most simple. We can only try to get in touch with our spirits. My 2011 Imani affirmation: May I work on connecting with my spirit daily, using therapy and yoga as a means to find out who I am and where I am going.

 Gye Nyame: “Except God”

Thanks for reading love,