As millions across America save up their extra pennies, personal work days, and long awaited proposals to celebrate the worldwide holiday designed for lovers and better known as Valentine’s Day, another similar holiday is taking place in many African-American communities that recognizes not only the nurturing of romantic love, but love from a communal and cultural perspective as well. Enter in Akoma Day.
Akoma Day is a seven day holiday celebration of love between individuals within the African-American community. Observed during February in place of Valentine’s Day, the focus of this fairly new holiday is to ” …restore ‘ Black Love ‘ as the primordial example of love personified,” says founders Montsho & Nwasha Edu. Although officially celebrated for one week from February 14th to February 20th, Akoma Day is designed to be celebrated throughout the year as a tool to help cultivate and reflect the highest level of love in all relationships.
The symbols of the holiday include:
Meza wa Akoma (altar)- The Akoma altar is a table or flat surface that serves as the symbolic unbreakable foundation for Black Love and literal resting place for the other symbols.
Mfuno wa Akoma (cloth)- The Akoma cloth is a fabric used to cover the altar. This covering symbolizes a protective veil that offers a shield to Black love in a foreign/hostile environment. (Personalize your altar with selected fabrics from our collection of African fabric.)
Akoma Adinkra Symbol– The Akoma is an Akan term from Ghana used to describe the spiritual heart and is a symbol of love, goodwill, patience, and endurance.
Sankofa Adinkra Symbol– This symbol is a salient reminder that it is necessary to reach back to the past to build the future. It symbolizes returning to the source of a thing in order to attain mastery.
Kikombe wa Akoma (libation cup)- The ceremonial cup will be used to give praise to the ancestral and present examples of Black love personified.
Mishumma wa Akoma (candle) Colors-
3 Red for passion
3 Pink for love
1 White for purity and unification
Agano wa Akoma (pledge)- This pledge declares the commitment to uphold Black love in mind, body and soul.
Mer Khut (pyramid)- The pyramid epitomizes the perfection of Black love that can only be achieved through committed work and service. The symbol also represents the holy trinity in infinite manifestations.
Ubele wa Akoma (feather)- This symbol signifies the profound spirit of Black love characterized by forgiveness.
Kipepeo wa Akoma (butterfly) – This symbol denotes the grace, beauty, and fluidity of love transformation.
Mwanzi wa Akoma (bamboo plant)- This plant represents the strength and flexibility of Black love.
Hiba wa Akoma (keepsakes)- These are pictures, jewelry, and/or personal items that represent the loving testament of the Black family.
Mazao wa Akoma (fruit)- The fruit symbolizes the bountiful harvest of the labor of Black Love.
Uchungu (cayenne)- Represents the bitterness of Black Love’s trials.
Utamo (honey)- Represents the sweetness of Black Love’s triumphs.
Maji (water)- Represents the consistent balance between the trials and triumphs of Black Love.
The Akoma is an Adinkra symbol from Ghana, West Africa.
The image we know as the “heart” has been used for thousands of years! The “heart” has also been a symbol of consciousness and soul for thousands of years! In classic African tales, the heart of the deceased was weighed against a feather. If the heart balanced against the feather (the principle of truth and justice), the deceased had lived a just life. If the heart was heavy, (full of wrongdoings, ills, etc.) the balance would sink and the heart would be devoured by the beast Ammit.
This is the origin of the expression… “Keep your heart as light as a feather“
NOTE: Keep in mind that the founders of Black Love Day & Akoma Day support each other. Don’t hesitate to celebrate both.