Happy Holidays!

At this time of the year, we are met with a wide range of emotions.  The events of 2020 including the COVID pandemic, has forced us to spend more time with ourselves and with our families and we have learned new ways of coping with our new reality.  We have had a chance the learn the hobby that we always wanted to do.  We have become “professional” photographers, chefs, do-it-yourself experts and even technology wizards.  Some of us have even learned how to be more patient and accepting of the diversity within our own home.  Through it all, we continued to strive for excellence.  

We are grateful for our blessings.  We move into this holiday season celebrating the life of Jesus Christ at Christmas, our culture during Kwanzaa, and the promise of 2021. 

We invite you to celebrate Kwanzaa this year and every year.  Kwanzaa celebrates what its founder called the seven principles of Kwanzaa, or Nguzo Saba (originally Nguzu Saba – the seven principles of African Heritage). Each of the seven days of Kwanzaa is dedicated to one of the following principles, as follows: 

·         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 do always 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.

Kwanzaa celebratory symbols include a mat (Mkeka) on which other symbols are placed: a Kinara (candle holderfor seven candlesticks), Mishumaa Saba (seven candles), mazao (crops), Mahindi (corn), a Kikombe cha Umoja (unity cup) for commemorating and giving shukrani (thanks) to African Ancestors, and Zawadi (gifts). Supplemental representations include a Nguzo Saba poster,  the black, red, and green bendera (flag), and African books and artworks – all to represent values and concepts reflective of African culture and contribution to community building and reinforcement.  Ears of corn represent the children celebrating and corn may be part of the holiday meal. 

May you have a safe and blessed holiday season!