Even though we are an African American family, we never really celebrated Kwanzaa. My family didn’t celebrate growing up and I didn’t introduce it to my children until now and I couldn’t be more excited to share this new tradition with my family.
What is Kwanzaa?
Kwanzaa is a celebration of African American culture that lasts from December 26 to January 1. Each day, a candle is lit on the candleholder (kinara). The candles are representative of seven principles: unity, self-determination, collective responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith. On the final day, there is a large feast (karamu). There are a few symbols such as red, green, and red candles, drums, a straw mat, and wearing kente during the final celebration.
Kwanzaa originated in 1966 by an African studies professor, Maulana Karenga and was a way to celebrate African American culture while bringing honor to African culture and a focus on family.
For me, it is a time to connect the past with our future and to always celebrate the beauty in the journey. I want to share with my children the significance of their culture and celebrate the principles of Kwanzaa together.
With the past few years that we have had, I feel now is an important time to incorporate this tradition. Kwanzaa was much more celebrated in the 80s and 90s than it is now, but I feel the core of what makes Kwanzaa special for the African American community is needing to be revived.
Looking At Kwanzaa in a New Light
I never really saw the significance of celebrating Kwanzaa until I became a mom. I want them to be proud of who they are, where they come from and know where they are going in the future. I want them to be brave, strong, and know that they are special and be true to themselves. I see Kwanzaa as a time to reflect but be empowered in our history and our future.
How Can I Support My Mom Friend Who Celebrates Kwanzaa?
If you have a mom friend who celebrates Kwanzaa, you can support her and her family by making a dish for the feast, gift books about Kwanzaa to her children, or you can simply ask her to share what they learned with you. I have learned so much about other cultural traditions from my mom friends and by supporting the things they do.