Habari Gani?

Habari Gani? That’s “What’s the news?” in Swahili. And that question is asked each of the 7 days after Christmas. It begins the celebration of Kwanzaa

Chances are you’ve heard of Kwanzaa but have stepped away from it with the idea it is only for African Americans. Yes, it is a observance with its roots in African American culture but it has grown to be much more than that. There are actually non-African Americans who respect and participate in the celebration just as there are many African Americans who do not.

I think, because it’s not tied to any religion it is easier to ignore because there is no guilt associated with NOT observing Kwanzaa.

But I digress.

Here’s a quick overview of how it works: December 26th through January 1st is set aside to honor and contemplate that day’s principle:

Day 1  Umoja – UNITY

Day 2  Kujichagulia -SELF DETERMINATION



Day 5  Nia – PURPOSE

Day 6  Kuumba – CREATIVITY

Day 7 Imani – FAITH

There are rituals for each day  (none include blood-letting, magical incantations or anything like that) so there is a bit of structure involved… And I acknowledge there are a number of excuses reasons why it is difficult to get a family to do anything for 7 days straight.

But I digress, again.

To make it simple and plain: Kwanzaa reinforces the concepts needed to ensure a strong family and community.

Isn’t that a universal desire?





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  • It is amazing to me that the qualities contemplated during the seven days of Kwanzaa are so similar to those that are reinforced during an Indian wedding ceremony, when the bride and groom walk around the sacred fire seven times. What is it about the number seven? Or about these qualities? I guess you are right - it IS a universal desire!!

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