Today marks the start of Kwanzaa, an actual African American Tradition in which we welcome the first harvests into the home. Kwanzaa was created in response to the commercialism of Christmas by Dr. Maulana Karenga and we are making it a tradition in our home going forward so we would like to share our exploration and learning with you!
Habari gani- How are you/How’s the news with you?
This is how we are to greet one another in discussion of each day’s principal in our own words and understanding. We will explain it in a way in which the children can gather their own perspective, whatever that looks like, as well as the adults. After discussing, the corresponding candle will be lit by either the eldest in the family or the youngest(whichever you choose).
Day 1: Umoja(oo-MOE-jah)- Unity:
To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.
Black candle, placed right in the middle of red and green candles in Kinara, is lit on the very first day of the festival. It marks the commencement of the festive season. The person who takes the responsibility to light the candle makes a statement about the first principle i.e. Umoja (oo-MOH-jah) or unity. All the family members should listen to the statement and understand it in a way that all of them can explain the doctrine and its meaning. At times that particular member shares a passage or poem which is related to their lives and the principle in some way or the other.
The Umoja (Unity cup) filled with fruit juice is passed to all the members present in that congregating spot.
Some of the families use a Unity cup for every member present where as some just like to keep a Unity cup in the centre of the Kwanzaa table. After the ceremony of sharing fruit juice is over, the candles are turned off till the very next day.
We are going to play a game that relies on us acting as a unit to win such as balloon head bounce. The object of this game will be to set a timer for 15s, 20s, 25s, and so on during which time we will try and keep the bacon from hitting the floor for the duration of each time. We must stay within our zones in the home, unless someone requests backup, forcing us to trust one another to do our parts equally and to assist one another in unity if need be.
Day 2: Kujichagulia- (koo-Jee-cha-goo-LEEA-ah)-
Self Determination: define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves.
To represent the second doctrine or principle the left most red candle is lit after the black one. This principle represents Kujichagulia (koo-jee-chah-goo-LEE-ah) or Self- Determination.
The process goes on in the same way. The person who lights the candle on 2nd day makes a statement which is related to the second principle. He or she also continues with a passage or a poem on that particular principle and explains how this doctrine is related to the meaning of their lives. The Unity cup is again shared between the members and the candles are extinguished.
We will play a game with Eli where we place a spoon in our mouth and balance a plastic egg on it as we navigate an obstacle course in the home. Of course, Malik(hubby/dad) and I(wifey/mom) will have a harder objective but the overall goal is to possess the energy of self determination to overcome! We will reflect on the game with positive affirmations about who we are and the attributes we tapped into to complete the course no matter what.
Day 3: Ujima- (oo-Jee-mah) Collective work and responsibility:
Building the community together and solving problems as a group.
This is the time to emphasize on the 3rd principle of Kwanzaa, Ujima or Collective work and Responsibility. On the third day, the lighting of candles starts again with the black one, then the farthest left red one and them the utmost right green one are lit.
The family members who congregate discuss the meaning of the 3rd principle and share Unity cup. The candles are then extinguished.
We will take pieces of a puzzle and work as a team BT putting together our own pieces then coming together as a community to join our pieces to one, completing the puzzle.
Resource: The Holiday Spot