Last December 2015 was the first time my household celebrated Kwanzaa. It was a week where my boyfriend (yes, still boyfriend status) and I spent some time each day to discuss the Nguzo Saba (7 principles), have we upheld them, and what we will do to uphold them.
We realized that as much as we wanted to, we were superficial supporters of the principles. For example, when we discussed Ujamaa, or Cooperative Economics, we discovered as much as we supported Black Business, it was in theory. In 2015 we didn’t really patronize black business. We talked about it. We thought about it. But, it wasn’t convenient.
In 2016 that changed. I did my research and found a plethora of businesses to support. From clothing to custom bracelets to toothpaste. We even found one that sold garbage bags!
We spent more time this year finding local black-owned shops to buy little items. By doing this, we promoted commUNITY. We spent a great deal of time learning about our past and how history impacts our present, but what we must do to shape our own futures. Then, we passed that information along.
That’s the thing I love about Kwanzaa. It is a week of learning and celebration with an emphasis on African diaspora. But, the Nguzo Saba are principles we can live by, anyone can live by everyday. There are gifts associated with Kwanzaa, but it’s not the big expensive gifts with other holidays. There’s no need to spend money you don’t have to meet gift expectations. Kwanzaa’s gifts are about need and education. Small gifts that you know can be useful, many are handmade or homemade. There’s no need to bribe or trick your children to behave in order to get a gift.
No, Kwanzaa is based on a set of principles that are alive and well 365 days a year. It becomes so much a part of your daily life that it’s second nature.