Since the holiday season has come and past, I pose a question that I’ve seen in other social networks: Is Kwanzaa outdated? I ask because most African-American people I know do not celebrate it. If one was to go onto facebook to gauge interest you would see very few status updates that would mention Kwanzaa. I was one of the few people who mentioned it on facebook and twitter.
For those of you who do not know much about Kwanzaa, here is a cheat sheet: Kwanzaa is a week-long celebration held in the honoring African-American heritage and culture, observed from December 26 to January 1 each year. The seven principles (Nguzo Saba) are reflected upon each day of Kwanzaa.
- Umoja (Unity): To strive for and to maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.
- Kujichagulia (Self-Determination): To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves stand up.
- Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility): To build and maintain our community together and make our brothers' and sisters' problems our problems, and to solve them together.
- Ujamaa (Cooperative economics): To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.
- Nia (Purpose): To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
- Kuumba (Creativity): To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.
- Imani (Faith): To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.
Last week, I read several articles regarding the validity of Kwanzaa. Some said that the holiday is no longer valid because most African-Americans do not celebrate it. I grew up celebrating Kwanzaa. I remember how important to my family it was. Looking back, outside of my extended family I really did not know anyone else who did. Honestly, I keep those principles I learned when I was kid close to my heart. I also believe that some of the principles are outdated.
African-Americans these days would love to follow through with these principles on a daily basis. But the way things are nowadays it might be not as accurate as people might like it to be. I am well aware that the creator of this holiday did not take into account that lots of African-Americans have moved out of the inner city or that a lot of African-Americans did not feel a connection to Africa like we should. Either way, I think most people have come up with their own principles when it comes to this stuff and it probably does not match with the seven principles.
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