Thursday, December 17, 2015



Kwanzaa is a made up holiday. So what. All Holidays are made up. The Father's degree day wasn't significant to anyone in 1947. And probably not to you, until you got Knowledge of Self. So I hate when folks use that argument to slam Kwanzaa. I think the reason why people don't get into the observation is because no one has ever told them how to celebrate it. And I find a lot of people are too lazy to figure out things for themselves.

It actually reminds me of a recent episode of The Goldbergs. The Goldbergs, are clearly Jewish, and celebrate Hanukkah, but there friends and neighbors celebrate Christmas. So the mother decided to co-op a lot of Christmas traditions and make a new holiday for her and her family. It didn't work out, but it was funny to watch. The message about the dangers of appropriating another's Culture will be lost on the masses, but I appreciated the effort. Back to Kwanzaa....

Lots of G's and E's hate on Kwanzaa and I don't get why. It's not a religious holiday. Yes it was made up; but by an Original man to celebrate our historical contributions and to give us some guidance on how to deal in Equality with eat other. All the principles are about do-for-self and upliftment of or community. So the hate is confusing. In this wilderness we celebrate Memorial Day, Labor Day, MLK Day, President's day, thanksgiving, etc. And all of this has nothing to do with religion. So I don't really get what the problem is.

I got my 1st and only Kinara from my father. I remember he got gung ho to celebrate, bought all the stuff to go on the alter and...... just burned candles. The last day of Kwanzaa, or New Years Day someone is always giving a party somewhere. So He went with that. He eventually gave up and gave his stuff to me and said, “You figure this one out.” My 1st time celebrating was a bust. I was in dental school and my roommate and I had a hard time finding appropriately colored candles. We gave up and used what we could find. Every day we went to light candles we just looked at each other and said the principle.

I've bought books. Gone to other people's celebrations. Nobody has a consistent handle on this Kwanzaa thing. But that's no reason to abandon it. Every year I still set up my Kwanzaa display even if I don't light the candles. So if you come to the Peace Realm... expect to see it.

But it occurred to me that I could personalize the celebration/observance to reflect my Cee and my Culture. This light bulb hit me because of the way my biological family celebrated xmas. When I was a small child we had a traditional Christmas with all the trimmings. But as I got older.... eh. I'm the baby and when I got grown... Christmas, the way it's celebrated in this country, is for children. So when the children age out... you have nothing left. Hopefully you have grandchildren. We'd put up a tree because that was visible from the outside and appearances count. Everyone's presents were put in a designated spot in the living room. I had he chair by the door. Clarence had the chair by the dining room. Mommie had the sofa. Daddy had the coffee table. You'd check your spot throughout the day. That tradition spilled over to other gifting holidays. It may sound crazy, but it worked for us. So why can't I make Kwanzaa work for me?

I think one way Kwanzaa gets derailed is folks treat it like a kids holiday. I know it's near xmas, but if you look at the principles, those are for grown people, not kids. When was the last time a child had work or control of economics? I'm not saying exclude them. I am saying it's okay to have a grown up celebration.

One thing I am adamant about is the use of English. It 's the only language I speak. I don't engage in activities where folks are speaking a language I don't speak. Why? For the same reason I don't have a Chinese character tattooed on my body. Folks could be trying to gaffle you or you may be making crazy ass vows without Knowing. It's synonymous with fine print. Nope. When I do Kwanzaa I consider the principles in English. So Unity... Self determination...collective work and responsibility.... cooperative economics.... purpose.... creativity..... and faith. The only moderately spooky one is faith and that is a Build for another time.

I don't do the trinket gifts for Kwanzaa. If I wanted to get the God a trinket I would just give it to him. I'm not saying we don't get each other anything. I'm saying I don't see that a primary reason. If it was about the presents, then that would make it xmas. We essentially light the candles, eat a meal in front of the display and Build on that day's math as it relates to the principle. When we finish, we snuff the candles. Whether we eat at the kitchen or dining room table has everything to do with where I set up the display. Could be either or. This year... probably the kitchen. Now like a lot of American Black people, I do the beans-and-greens thing on New Years Day. That happens to be the last day of Kwanzaa so it works out. I send out Kwanzaa cards if I can find them. Otherwise I'll send out holiday cards to my 85er friends. I make sure they don't say Christmas or any spooky stuff like that.

Now if you can't find a kinara... and that is a weak sauce excuse because they out there... get a log and drill 7 candle sized holes. That's really all you need. But if you want to be more true to the event, you need a straw mat, a goblet a stalk of dried corn for every person in the house, gift boxes, some cowrie shells, fruit and flowers.

Do I decorate outside of the display? I'd like to. But when have you seen red, black and green xmas lights? I have green lights. But they are inside and not outside lights. Mmmmm.... I suppose I could order some red ones and use Black ribbon..... I'd want a banner to explain to passers by and neighbors wth is going on. I wonder where I can get an all weather banner...... You know what would be cool? And electric kinara with the lights! Or 7 of those big candle lights. Can I rig that?????

White people are trying to steal Kwanzaa. Every year I see more and more white people telling ME about this holiday. I don't do what him/devil suggest. They hate to be left out, don't they? Do you know they came up with a 'Kwanzaa Cake'? White people try to ruin everything. It's a chocolate and peanut butter abomination. Kwanzaa ain't for them. No matter what they tell you. But they out here in these streets just celebrating and telling us how we should be getting down. Ah.... no.

So you see... you can do Kwanzaa if you want to. Make it your own. And if you don't... That's cool to. As NeNe Leaks would say, “Be the right type of bitch and say, 'I don't celebrate Kwanzaa because I don't want to!' ”