Sunday, December 17, 2017

Do You Know About Kwanzaa?

Every time I turn on the radio these during the holiday I hear Christmas music and the celebration of the 12 days of Christmas and 8 days of Hanukkah especially with all news surrounding the Meditteranean sea these days. However, there are many religious and cultural beliefs that celebrated around December into January. Most involve lighting candles to celebrate each day, gift giving, and a festive dinner made with the autumn/winter harvest for the last day of celebration. If you had any DNA testing than you'll probably be interested in celebrating or having a tradition based on your ancestry.

When I was a child everyone talked about celebrating Kwanzaa which is a fairly new celebration in the western hemisphere but this year it is turning 51 years old.  Most African-Americans descents come from the Akan-Bantu people, Senegal all the way down into Namibia. The tradition was founded by Dr. Maulana Karenga on the bases of Seven Principles and Symbols, also known as, "Nguzo Saba." Kwanza is Swahili and means "first fruits'' which is center around the last harvest of the year. The seven-day festival starts the day after Christmas and ends on New Year's day. In Africa, there is a festival called "Pongal" or "Yam Festival" which marks the end of an abundant food-producing harvest. It is also celebrated by Indians and South East Asian. "In Ghana, the Yam Festival (Homowo) lasts three days. The festival begins with a cleansing ceremony to honor family members who have died. Farmers give thanks to the gods who ensure a good harvest. Twins and triplets are honored during this time as a special gift from God"-Society for the Confluence of Festivals in India. In addition, African Yams are actually on the more starchy side similar to actually Yuca-root (Cassava) than our American counterparts the Sweet Potatoe which commonly called Yams when the sweet potatoes have been (stovetop) cooked or canned.

The colors of Kwanzaa are movement representing “unity” for peoples of African descent: Black for the people, red for the noble blood that unites all people of African ancestry, and green for the rich land of Africa. These colors are based on Hon. Marcus Garvey as national colors for African people throughout the world. In the coming days, I will be releasing the Seven Principles of the Kawaza leading up the celebration.

~ Heri za Kwanzaa ~


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