doesn’t mean you actually celebrate Kwanzaa. Not by a long shot. Over the years I’ve met many people who attend Kwanzaa events. That’s nice. Let me be clear though. Celebrating Kwanzaa on a personal level in our own homes is one thing whilst attending Kwanzaa events is another. Of course some Kwanzaa celebrants head to events on occasion. True dat. Kwanzaa events are never a replacement for intimate, home-based gatherings though. For celebrants, observing the holiday with friends & family (and building on it each year) is our focus. Many of us are creating unique Kwanzaa traditions that we hope will be passed onto our grands, great-grands etc. We are all about the business of making Kwanzaa vibrant, colourful & fun so suffice it to say that lighting the Mishumaa Saba (candles) and discussing the Nguzo Saba (principles) isn’t quite enough. We get IN! We’re not trying to “get Afrikan” (whatever that means) for 7 days. We don’t adorn ourselves in our cultural attire like it’s some sorta costume. Certainly not! Trust me, we already know who we are. Kwanzaa is simply a time to celebrate ourselves and the best of what our culture (ancient & contemporary) offers.
What are some of your family’s Kwanzaa traditions? Here are a few you may dig:
– Make a special dessert a day or two before Kwanzaa. Enjoy them for Kwanzaa eve (Dec.25). Ankh/Africa/Heart/Star-shaped cookies may go over well in your house. Gingerbread wo/men ones are cool too. Decorate them with raisins, RBG sprinkles etc. Stay up a little later than usual that night. Play some games, make a few cards, pump up some music & dance/sing, catch a movie, finish making those zawadi etc. Have some good ol’ fashioned family FUN!!!
– How ’bout blessing your children with treat bags on the morning of Dec.26? They’ll LOVE it!! Here’s how. Get a small brown paper bag for each child in your household. Decorate each bag in a culturally appropriate manner. No “artists” necessary. Place a few treats inside each bag. Suggestions are homemade popcorn & cookies, fresh and/or dried fruit, 1-2 pieces of candy, a small book, a relevant colouring/activity page, stickers, an ancestral quote/affirmation or two, a knitted/crocheted item. Place the bag(s) on or outside their bedroom door(s) after they’ve gone to sleep on Kwanzaa eve. Another idea is to hide the bags somewhere in your home. Your children will find/open them in the morning (Dec.26).
– Have a special breakfast on one of the 7 days. Some like to do this for Umoja (Dec.26). Whatever works for your family is fine. Remember to include some RBG foods ie. pancakes topped with homemade (green) applesauce along with blackberries, raspberries, strawberries. A fruit salad with lots of RBG fruit may go over well too.
– Consider giving your child(ren) a gift per day. That is, 7 small gifts for each child.
P.S.- Better believe we exchange zawadi (gifts). Many of us even wrap our gifts in pretty fabric or reused wrapping paper/gift bags.