The Holidays: Resetting Our Intentions
This has been a hell of a year. In reviewing all the events in my mind, it seems as though it was more like a decade in itself. Like the 1920s, it's been nothing short of a Renaissance. I’m keenly interested in what the rest of the 2020s has in store. I hope that this year was meant to shake things up, leading to a better path for us all.
That said, we’ve made it to the holiday time and I have to admit that it hasn’t quite felt like “the holidays.” I think I’ve just been trying to catch my breath. Last year around this time, I found out I was going to be a mom and I dove into restructuring my life to provide my daughter with a solid home. This led to a ton of projects, including buying a home. I put up a mini tree for the kids and called it a day.
This year, we paused as we began approaching the holidays. For instance, we switched up some of the food at Thanksgiving and I even pondered ways to celebrate Native Americans instead. When we got to Christmas, it just felt like a rehearsed line when asking if we should put up a tree and get pictures with Santa who has nothing to do with the actual holiday.
My partner suggested Kwanzaa instead. He didn’t know much about it and neither did I other than the fact that it was for black people. I want my daughter to be empowered, confident, compassionate, and kind. I want her to experience representation. So once I looked up the meaning of Kwanzaa, I couldn’t believe I never knew the details. We decided that this would be the way we celebrate our holidays.
In 1966, Dr. Maulana Karenga, a professor and chairman of Black Studies at California State University, created Kwanzaa. During this time, black people were experiencing a revisualization of self and identity, becoming boisterous and adamant about the right to vote, as well as intolerant of discrimination and racism.
This was a tumultuous decade in U.S. history and it gave way to a series of events that would lead to a divisive counterculture. With strenuous events including war, riots, and the fight for civil rights, people of color needed change.
Kwanzaa means “first fruits” and signifies a new beginning. It takes place from December 26th-31st and it isn’t religiously affiliated, inviting all to celebrate.
The list below includes definitions of each day of Kwanzaa and was copied from Wikipedia:
Umoja (Unity): To strive for and to maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.
Kujichagulia (Self-Determination): To define and name ourselves, as well as to create 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 always do 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.