Kwanzaa After Dark: Days 1-3 Umoja – Kujichagulia – Ujima

Although Kwanzaa is a holiday that is practiced across the world in a myriad of communities, I realize that many people aren’t yet accustomed to it, and that is OK. We can change this. It is an uplifting event, that transcends materialism, pacification, domination, oppression, isms, schisms, and negative vibrations. I am proud that I am learning Kwanzaa and using it to empower myself. It may take some time to get into the swing of it, but if you missed the mark, feel free to choose any week of the year to practice. There is nothing wrong with a summer Kwanzaa.

My first Kwanzaa occurred 5 years ago. It was with a group of 6 people. We committed to it, and it ended well. Soon after, I realized that what it represented is a part of me and I needed more of it, so it became one of my rituals. I printed out the 7 Principles of Kwanzaa and made them easily accessible to me on any given day.

To a beginner, Kwanzaa may seem like a lot because it is indeed a 7-day celebration, and it requires time and dedication. I suggest starting to prepare for Kwanzaa in November of each year, but definitely by December 19, you should have all your supplies. If you wait until the last minute, it may seem overwhelming and your plans may fall through. However, it helps to observe Kwanzaa year round. It’s distinctive principles are mantras and are affirming. Waking up to the Nguzo Saba is great for me, and it can be great for you too.

So, today is December 28, 2016, the third day of Kwanzaa, and I am excited to light the first green candle for Ujima. On day one, my partner and I talked about having Unity in the family first. Lots, of times we go out into the world and try to form bonds and partnerships, and our homes aren’t in order. So, we committed to Unifying the HOME, because once that is in order, we can truly go out into the community and plant some righteous seeds of love.

Kujichagulia, was yesterday. I can’t help but to think of the song K.O.S. by Black Star when observing this day. The lyrics reflect the principle of self-determination:

“That life without knowledge is, death in disguise?
That’s why, Knowledge of Self is like life after death
Apply it, to your life, let destiny manifest”

I lit the red candle and spoke to my ancestors. I thanked them for forming an unbreakable realm of protection around me. I have been through some things, but here I am, standing. I am even more determined to rise and become who I am meant to be.

I’ve done a few things to prepare for Kwanzaa. At work, I created a Kwanzaa Book Display, in efforts of informing the community about the holiday, and at home, this is my altar for this year…

Posters in display from Created by Crosby.

I hear people often asking, why Kwanzaa? My answer to that is “why not Kwanzaa?” There is such greatness in this celebration. Completing the week is definitely an achievement because it means that you stuck to a plan, and followed through on a commitment. Be proud of that! Please do some research of your own and tailor the decorations and meaning to fit you. It is truly a joy to celebrate You, your roots, your ancestral lineage. What about it?

Peace and blessings manifest with every lesson learned.

Shila Iris



3 thoughts on “Kwanzaa After Dark: Days 1-3 Umoja – Kujichagulia – Ujima

  1. Pingback: The Orijin Store – Amazing African Accessories | by Shila Iris

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