Hello all! Today is the first day of Kwanzaa!! The journey begins…
Tonight we lit the black candle that represents the people that trace their heritage to Africa ✨. First, I asked my boyfriend “Habari Gani?” which is Swahili for, what’s the news? He answered, “umoja,” and then shared a relfection. Then, it was my turn and his cousin was over so he also shared in the celebration. My boyfriend and I reflected on what unity meant to us and what we can do in our community to promote more unity. This was a difficult question for my boyfriend and I. We ended up reflecting for almost an hour. We live in a pretty broken down community that can easily push one to give up hope because of how our neighbors treat others and what we see on our block. We came down to the conclusion that we will focus on creating unity in our own family and let our positivity extend to those we encounter daily. We always make time to greet the bus driver, store clerks, etc in our community and we will continue to do so. Little things like this will allow us to not convert to an individualistic state of mind.
If you didn’t know the day 1 principle is#UMOJA (OO-MOE-JAH) it means unity to strive for and to maintain unity in the family, community, nation and human race. Our action is to build a community that holds together.
The seven candles are called Mishumaa Saba, which represent the Nguzo Saba (each of the 7 principles). The red candles represent our peoples’ struggle and the green candles represent hope.
I made a #homemade #Kinara, which is the candle holder. I could not afford a wooden, traditional one and I went to over 15 stores to put this together!! It was so difficult finding green taper candles and impossible to find a black taper candle! Therefore, I used the candle pictured above. My hope (green) candles were shorter than my struggle (red) candles, so I found taller candle holders. I think it came out wonderful! It only cost me $20 to put it together 🙂 I strongly suggest if you cannot afford a Kinara, make one yourself.
Since I could not find a straw mat, I used a yellow and red ribbon to represent the Mkeka (or mat) which is symbolic of our tradition and history and therefore, the foundation on which we build. In addition, the Kikombe cha Umoja (The Unity Cup) is symbolic of the foundational principle and practice of unity which makes all else possible, is not displayed. I will upload it in the next blog when I light our next candle 🙂
Have an amazing evening and #HAPPY KWANZAA!!
***(I found a lot of info from officialkwanzaawebsite.org and kwanzaalights.com***