Celebrating Kwanzaa This Holiday Season

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Next week, we are celebrating Kwanzaa! Although I am a mixed race, BIPOC woman, I grew up in a predominately white home and area. I have spent a large part of my adulthood learning about my culture, who I am, and who I want to be as a person. 

For the last few years, I have spent time building my capacity, especially around Kwanzaa, in preparation to celebrate with my family and make sure that I am teaching my children about my culture. I am very excited to share some information that I have taken in, so I can be ready to teach my kids about our culture and embrace how important this holiday is in the African American community.

What is Kwanzaa?

Kwanzaa is a celebrational holiday from African American culture and its traditional values that were brought forth in the 1960s by the Black National Movement. The celebration takes place annually for seven days from December 26th through January 1st. The seven-day celebration focuses each day on particular principles and social values.

The celebrations during this time focus around unity, creativity, faith, and gift giving. These are all things that are so important to me in everyday life. I strive to make sure that I focus on teaching my children to encompass these values in their daily lives. 

Seven Key Principles

During the seven-day celebration, there are seven key principles that are focused on–one each day.

  • Umoja focuses on maintaining the unity of family, the nation, race, and community around us.
  • Kujichagulia focuses on the self-determination to create and do things for ourselves.
  • Ujima focuses on collective work and the responsibility to build each other’s community and help our friends and families.
  • Ujamaa focuses on economics and supporting Black-owned businesses, shops, and stores.
  • Nia focuses on the vocation of building and developing communities to restore them.
  • Kuumba is the day of creativity.
  • Imani is the day of faith.

The focus of each of these days is to bring together the Black community as a family and learn about the traditions of those before us, and focus on learning and appreciating one’s culture. 

Symbolism and Decorations

The traditional colors of Kwanzaa are black, green, and red. On our table, you will find traditional African cloth patterns. You will also find a Kwanzaa kinara with the seven candles–one to represent every day of the celebration.

It was important for me to decorate and make sure that my children were exposed to the symbolism. When children see the symbolism and having the daily conversations of the seven key principles, their young minds continue to ask questions and will also see the Christmas tree right across the room and can compare the similarities and differences.

Books to Check Out

There are so many books that you can share with your children to read about Kwanzaa or introduce them to the holiday. Here are just a few that I recommend:

I view this as a time to continue to have conversations with my children and my family about my African roots of heritage. This is as a week of vocal gratitude. I view this as a time that others can learn about the traditions as I share our journey of learning and celebrating. It is a celebration of unity, family, and gratitude. I am looking forward to sharing it with my boys and experiencing it this year.

We love sharing about the different ways families celebrate the holidays. Be sure to check out Ronit’s post about how her family celebrates Hanukkah!

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My name is Kenisha a millennial boy mom to two boys 9 (Victor) and 3 (Jaxson), an expert adoption social worker trainer for the State of Michigan. I got married to my husband,Matt, when I was 19 😱 we have been been married for 13 years! 🥰 We live in Ypsilanti Twp! By day, you will find me trying to dismantle the disparities of black and brown youth in the child welfare system here in Michigan (and starting to get into the national circuit ) and teach others lessons toward becoming anti-racist. By night, I am crafting and creating with my small calligraphy business Lettering By Kenisha LLC- to help others and make them things to bring them joy! Trying to keep this short , some Keywords that describe me😂 ✨true crime ✨pop culture (raunchy reality TV, Shonda shows, twilight 😂, vampires, boy bands) ✨ scrolling TikTok ✨boy mom ✨working mom ✨activist ✨advocate ✨anxious ✨motivating mamas that we can work out of the home and be good moms and partners if we really focus on work life balance! 💕

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