Kwanzaa 2014


itisme

Pic2_001

 

It is December, which means it will soon be time for the most under-celebrated holiday ever known to man: Kwanzaa! I know what you’re thinking. Who the hell celebrates Kwanzaa? These seven principles comprise Umoja (Unity), Kujichagulia (Self-Determination), Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity), Imani (Faith)

 

Time for Kwanzaa! Hello?

 

Kwanzaa celebration with its founder, Maulana Karenga, and others

Kwanzaa celebration with its founder, Maulana Karenga, and others

Kwanzaa

Kwanzaa is a week-long celebration held in the United States and also celebrated in the Western African Diaspora in other nations of the Americas. The celebration honors African heritage in African-American culture, and is observed from December 26 to January 1, culminating in a feast and gift-giving. Kwanzaa has seven core principles (Nguzo Saba). It was created by Maulana Karenga, and was first celebrated in 1966–67.

 

History and etymology

Maulana Karenga created Kwanzaa in 1965 as the first specifically African-American holiday. According to Karenga, the name Kwanzaa derives from the Swahili phrase matunda ya kwanza, meaning “first fruits of the harvest”. The choice of Swahili, an East African language, reflects its status as a symbol of Pan-Africanism, especially in the 1960s, although most East African nations were not involved in the Atlantic slave trade that brought African people to America.

 

Kwanzaa is a celebration that has its roots in the black nationalist movement of the 1960s, and was established as a means to help African Americans reconnect with their African cultural and historical heritage by uniting in meditation and study of African traditions and Nguzo Saba, the “seven principles of African Heritage” which Karenga said “is a communitarian African philosophy”.

 

During the early years of Kwanzaa, Karenga said that it was meant to be an “oppositional alternative” to Christmas. However, as Kwanzaa gained mainstream adherents, Karenga altered his position so that practicing Christians would not be alienated, then stating in the 1997 Kwanzaa: A Celebration of Family, Community, and Culture, “Kwanzaa was not created to give people an alternative to their own religion or religious holiday.”

 

Many African Americans who celebrate Kwanzaa do so in addition to observing Christmas.

 

Principles and symbols

Kwanzaa celebrates what its founder called the seven principles of Kwanzaa, or Nguzo Saba (originally Nguzu Saba—the seven principles of African Heritage), which Karenga said “is a communitarian African philosophy,” consisting of what Karenga called “the best of African thought and practice in constant exchange with the world.” These seven principles comprise *Kawaida, a Swahili term for tradition and reason. Each of the seven days of Kwanzaa is dedicated to one of the following principles, as follows:

 

  • 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.
  • 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 hearts in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.

 

Kwanzaa symbols include a decorative mat (Mkeka) on which other symbols are placed, corn (Muhindi) and other crops, a candle holder kinara with seven candles (Mishumaa Saba), a communal cup for pouring libation (Kikombe cha Umoja), gifts (Zawadi), a poster of the seven principles, and a black, red, and green flag. The symbols were designed to convey the seven principles.

 

Observance

A woman lighting kinara candles

A woman lighting kinara candles

Families celebrating Kwanzaa decorate their households with objects of art; colorful African cloth such as kente, especially the wearing of kaftans by women; and fresh fruits that represent African idealism. It is customary to include children in Kwanzaa ceremonies and to give respect and gratitude to ancestors. Libations are shared, generally with a common chalice,Kikombe cha Umoja, passed around to all celebrants. Non-African Americans also celebrate Kwanzaa. The holiday greeting is “Joyous Kwanzaa”.

 

A Kwanzaa ceremony may include drumming and musical selections, libations, a reading of the African Pledge and the Principles of Blackness, reflection on the Pan-African colors, a discussion of the African principle of the day or a chapter in African history, a candle-lighting ritual, artistic performance, and, finally, a feast (karamu). The greeting for each day of Kwanzaa is Habari Gani which is Swahili for “What’s the News?”

 

At first, observers of Kwanzaa avoided the mixing of the holiday or its symbols, values, and practice with other holidays, as doing so would violate the principle of kujichagulia (self-determination) and thus violate the integrity of the holiday, which is partially intended as a reclamation of important African values. Today, many African American families celebrate Kwanzaa along with Christmas and New Year’s. Frequently, both Christmas trees and kinaras, the traditional candle holder symbolic of African American roots, share space in Kwanzaa-celebrating households. For people who celebrate both holidays, Kwanzaa is an opportunity to incorporate elements of their particular ethnic heritage into holiday observances and celebrations of Christmas.

 

Cultural exhibitions include the Spirit of Kwanzaa, an annual celebration held at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts featuring interpretive dance, African dance, song and poetry.

 

The holiday has also spread to Canada, and is celebrated by Black Canadians in a similar fashion as in the United States.

 

Popularity

In 2004, BIG Research conducted a marketing survey in the United States for the National Retail Foundation, which found that 1.6% of those surveyed planned to celebrate Kwanzaa. If generalized to the US population as a whole, this would imply that around 4.7 million people planned to celebrate Kwanzaa in that year. In a 2006 speech, Ron Karenga asserted that 28 million people celebrate Kwanzaa. He has always claimed it is celebrated all over the world. Lee D. Baker puts the number at 12 million. The African American Cultural Center claimed 30 million in 2009. In 2011, Keith Mayes said that 2 million people participated in Kwanzaa.

 

According to University of Minnesota Professor Keith Mayes, the author of Kwanzaa: Black Power and the Making of the African-American Holiday Tradition,the popularity within the US has “leveled off” as the black power movement there has declined, and now between half and two million people celebrate Kwanzaa in the US, or between one and five percent of African Americans. Mayes adds that white institutions now celebrate it.

 

The holiday has also spread to Canada, and is celebrated by Black Canadians in a similar fashion as in the United States. According to the Language Portal of Canada, “this fairly new tradition has [also] gained in popularity in France, Great Britain, Jamaica and Brazil”, although this information has not been confirmed with authoritative sources from these countries.

 

In Brazil, in recent years the term Kwanzaa has been applied by a few institutions as a synonym for the festivities of the Black Awareness Day, commemorated on November 20 in honor of Zumbi dos Palmares, having little to do with the celebration as it was originally conceived.

 

In 2009, Maya Angelou narrated the documentary The Black Candle, a film about Kwanzaa.

 

The Black Candle A Kwanzaa Celebration

Published on Feb 10, 2013

The Black Candle is a landmark, vibrant documentary film that uses Kwanzaa as a vehicle to explore and celebrate the African-American experience.

 

 

Screenshot (2603)

 

2014 Theme: “Practicing the Culture of Kwanzaa: Living The Seven Principles”

 

THE
OFFICIAL KWANZAA
WEBSITE

The Founder’s Welcome
Dr. Maulana Karenga

 

As an African American and Pan-African holiday celebrated by millions throughout the world African community, Kwanzaa brings a cultural message which speaks to the best of what it means to be African and human in the fullest sense. Given the profound significance Kwanzaa has for African Americans and indeed, the world African community, it is imperative that an authoritative source and site be made available to give an accurate and expansive account of its origins, concepts, values, symbols and practice.

 

Moreover, given the continued rapid growth of Kwanzaa and the parallel expanded discussion of it and related issues, an authoritative source which aids in both framing and informing the discussion is likewise of the greatest importance. Therefore, the central interest of this website is to provide information which reveals and reaffirms the integrity, beauty and expansive meaning of the holiday and thus aids in our approaching it with the depth of thought, dignity, and sense of specialness it deserves.

The holiday, then will of necessity, be engaged as an ancient and living cultural tradition which reflects the best of African thought and practice in its reaffirmation of the dignity of the human person in community and culture, the well-being of family and community, the integrity of the environment and our kinship with it, and the rich resource and meaning of a people’s culture. It is within this understanding, then, that the Organization Us, the founding organization of Kwanzaa and the authoritative keeper of the tradition, has established and maintains this website.

 

THE OFFICIAL KWANZAA WEBSITE

 

Screenshot (2603)

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

 

486750977_640 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!000000000000000000obama-forward3

No Christmas Celebration For Me


By Jueseppi B.

 

sandyhook prayer

 

 

 

I have tried to be cheerful and get into the “Christmas Spirit“. I have decorated trees and strung lights for some elderly and disabled neighbors back in the states. I played all my favorite Christmas songs, over & over. I Tried telling myself this was a Christmas just like any other.

 

It’s not.

 

I have not stopped crying, at some point during each day, since December 14th, 2012. I have no control over the flow of unwanted tears.

 

These 27 families will share no joy, no happiness, no spirit of the holiday season……

 

- Charlotte Bacon, 2/22/06, female (6).

 

- Daniel Barden, 9/25/05, male (7).

 

- Rachel Davino, 7/17/83, female (29).

 

- Olivia Engel, 7/18/06, female (6).

 

- Josephine Gay, 12/11/05, female (7).

 

- Ana M. Marquez-Greene, 04/04/06, female (6).

 

- Dylan Hockley, 3/8/06, male (6).

 

- Dawn Hochsprung, 06/28/65, female (47)

 

- Madeleine F. Hsu, 7/10/06, female (6).

 

- Catherine V. Hubbard, 6/08/06, female (6).

 

- Chase Kowalski, 10/31/05, male (7).

 

- Jesse Lewis, 6/30/06, male (6).

 

- James Mattioli , 3/22/06, male (6).

 

- Grace McDonnell, 12/04/05, female (7).

 

- Anne Marie Murphy, 07/25/60, female (52).

 

- Emilie Parker, 5/12/06, female (6).

 

- Jack Pinto, 5/06/06, male (6).

 

- Noah Pozner, 11/20/06, male (6).

 

- Caroline Previdi, 9/07/06, female (6).

 

- Jessica Rekos, 5/10/06, female (6).

 

- Avielle Richman, 10/17/06, female (6).

 

- Lauren Rousseau, 6/1982, female (30).

 

- Mary Sherlach, 2/11/56, female (56).

 

- Victoria Soto, 11/04/85, female (27).

 

- Benjamin Wheeler, 9/12/06, male (6).

 

- Allison N. Wyatt, 7/03/06, female (6).

 

-Nancy J. Lanza, (52)

 

-Adam Lanza, (20)

 

I just can not find a happy place knowing that in Newtown, Connecticut, there is a deep pain that can never be eased or erased.

 

For some reason this massacre inside Sandy Hook Elementary School has done things to me that the other massacres have not.

 

Mother Jones says:

“Since 1982, there have been at least 62 mass murders (massacres) carried out with firearms across the country, with the killings unfolding in 30 states from Massachusetts to Hawaii.

 

Of the 142 guns possessed by the killers, more than three quarters were obtained legally. The arsenal included dozens of assault weapons and semiautomatic handguns.

 

Half of the cases involved school or workplace shootings (12 and 19, respectively); the other 31 cases took place in locations including shopping malls, restaurants, government buildings, and military bases. Forty four of the killers were white males. Only one of them was a woman.

 

The average age of the killers was 35, though the youngest among them was a mere 11 years old. A majority were mentally ill—and many displayed signs of it before setting out to kill. Mass murders represent only a sliver of America’s overall gun violence.”

 

A very special Hat Tip/Shout Out to Mother Jones and their article “A Guide to Mass Shootings in America”, which is where I found the above listed statistics. Please check out their full article at Mother Jones.

 

 

Needless to say, I can not stop thinking about America’s gun problems, and I can not stop feeling exactly what the friends, families and loved ones who lost human life in Newtown, Connecticut, are experiencing. I can’t get past that massacre. I can’t move on. I can’t stop cringing at the thought of the next one.

 

While stupid, egotistical, idiotic, morons at the NRA lay blame for Sandy Hook Elementary School everywhere but at the feet of the NRA’s corporate gun sponsors/manufacturers…..even more Americans have died since December 14th, 2012, at the end of a handgun or assault weapon.

 

Then there are your garden variety dumbass Americans who scream “2nd amendment rights” whenever a person falls dead from a gunshot wound. As long as that person that falls dead ain’t nobody they know or love.

 

In case you gun nuts have not read AND comprehended the 2nd amendment, please do so. That 2nd amendment does not give you, garden variety American citizen, the right to bear jack shit, let alone handguns & assault weapons. Go Google 2nd amendment, then read it…and remember…reading comprehension is fundamental.

 

Ok….I’m back to attempting to find this elusive “Christmas Spirit”.

 

I wish you & your family a wonderfully joyous Kwanzaa, Christmas & Hanukkah & a healthy, happy & prosperous New Year.

 

 

…………(¯`O´¯)
…………*./ | \ .*
…………..*♫*.
………, • ‘*♥* ‘ • ,
……. ‘*• ♫♫♫•*’
….. ‘ *, • ‘♫ ‘ • ,* ‘
….’ * • ♫*♥*♫• * ‘
… * , • Merry’ • , * ‘
…* ‘ •♫♫*♥*♫♫ • ‘ * ‘
‘ ‘ • Christmas . • ‘ ‘ ‘
‘ ‘ • ♫♫♫*♥*♫♫♫• * ‘ ‘
…………..x♥x

Namaste.

 

 

41

 

 

 

 

train01

 

 

 

christmas08

 

 

 

fireplace01

 

 

 

See. I. Am. Trying.

 

Not working.

 

 

mj

 

 

“A Guide to Mass Shootings in America” at Mother Jones

 

 

 

shootingvictims_master_630x475

 

 

Will Your Child, Loved One, Family Member Or Friend Be Next?

 

Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year. If You Are Alive.

 

 

 

bottomlogo

 

 

My Picks For 2012′s Most Influential Blogs…Part Deux


By Jueseppi B.

 

120412-Giftees-Winners-Banner

 

 

 

Yesterday I got the idea for My Picks For 2012′s Most Influential Blogs after visiting the blog of  The Blissful Adventurer. He has a post on his amazing blog entitled “The Most Influential Blogs of 2012“. And I thought what a wonderful idea.

 

I posted my version of 2012′s Most Influential Blogs and it was chock full of the blogs I find inspirational and informative. Wouldn’t you know it, because I’m 175 years old and starting to get senile, I missed a few of my favorite bloggers and their blogs.

 

So here we are at 2012′s Most Influential Blogs Part Deux!!

 

The Rules:

There are no rules for this award except you MUST pay it forward, and that means, sometime in the next 6 months, you “should” chose the blogs you deem worthy of your label of The Most Influential Blog Of 2012, to you.

That’s it. Only rule.

 

Now For MY Most Influential Blogs Of 2012:

Each blog chosen by me, has in some small or huge way influenced me in some way, be it by inspiration or by information.

 

cbcburke9

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
The Light – Bearer

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I do sincerely hope I didn’t forget anyone this time, if I did forget somebody……I apologize ahead of time.
 
 
 

Since this is NOT an award, there is no guilt associated with accepting. Just enjoy.

 

I wish all the blogs and their owners & families a wonderfully joyous KwanzaaChristmas & Hanukkah & a healthy, happy & prosperous New Year.

 

 

holiday-stockings

 

 

 

 

 

bottomlogo

My Picks For 2012’s Most Influential Blogs


By Jueseppi B.

 


120412-Giftees-Winners-Banner

 

 

 

I got this idea from The Blissful Adventurer. He has a post on his amazing blog entitled “The Most Influential Blogs of 2012“.

 

I was thinking, it would be cool if I chose the blogs I thought were The Most Influential Blogs Of 2012…so here goes:

 

 

The Rules:

There are no rules for this award except you MUST pay it forward, and that means, sometime in the next 6 months, you “should” chose the blogs you deem worthy of your label of The Most Influential Blog Of 2012, to you.

That’s it. Only rule.

 

 

Now For MY Most Influential Blogs Of 2012:

Each blog chosen by me, has in some small or huge way influenced me in some way, be it by inspiration or by information.

 

 

The White House Blog

 

Bell Book Candle

 

sharing me myself and i

 

TheBrabbleRabble

 

THROUGH THE HEALING LENS

 

Things My Belly Likes

 

Motley News and Photos

 

The Fifth Column

 

The Obama Diary 

 

3CHICSPOLITICO

 

Allison Grayhurst

 

Writing Between the Lines

 

Jazfagan

 

faithandmeow

 

Thoughts from the Outdoors

 

dailymomprayers

 

allaboutlemon

 

angrymanspeaks

 

♡ The Tale Of My Heart ♡

 

CADESERTVOICE

 

CANVASS 44

 

Cut N Edge Cartoons

 

The Educability of Perch

 

idealisticrebel

 

Silently Heard Once

 

Tracie Louise Photography

 

Silver Poetry

 

 

Since this is NOT an award, there is no guilt associated with accepting. Just enjoy.

 

I wish all the blogs and their owners & families a wonderfully joyous Kwanzaa, Christmas & Hanukkah & a healthy, happy & prosperous New Year.

 

 

holiday-stockings

 

 

 

 

 

bottomlogo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 278,952 other followers

%d bloggers like this: