How Do You Celebrate Holidays With Black Families?
Holidays seem to be very much a part of the Black experience. If you are lucky enough it’s a time of joy, laughter, making fun of someone’s cooking, playing games and rolling your eyes at an Uncle. It’s why we have hashtags like #ThanksgivingClapbacks and remixes of Gospel songs about food that express the joy of celebrating the holidays with your Black family. Christmas movies like This Christmas and Best Man Holiday always seemed so relatable.
I realized, this is the only holiday I know. Are other cultures less eventful? Do Black people have traditions that other cultures don’t? Do Black Holiday traditions lie within the food that we typically have or the music that we decide to play to celebrate? The mac and cheese and sweet potato pie will always be a staple that would feel odd if it was missing from the dinner table.
Aside from religious and American Holidays, one holiday was specifically created for people of African descent. But why do we rarely hear about or people celebrating Kwanzaa? From December 26- January 1, Kwanzaa is an annual celebration to honor African American heritage. Each of the 7 days of the holiday represents 7 core principals of the holiday: Umoja (unity), Kujichagulia (Self-Determination), Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity), Imani (Faith).
Kwanzaa was first introduced by Dr. Maulana Karenga in 1966 to the United States as a ritual to welcome the first harvests to the home. Dr. Karenga created this festival for Afro-Americans as a response to the commercialism of Christmas. Five common sets of values are central to the activities of the week: ingathering, reverence, commemoration, recommitment, and celebration.
Should more Black people make an effort to celebrate Kwanzaa?
In our holiday episode, we explore how Black people celebrate the holidays and how it may different from our white counterparts. Rachel and Amari explain how they celebrate in a Caribbean household and the four debate if potato salad is only seasonal and what goes on yams. The So-Called Oreos later discuss why many black Americans don’t celebrate Kwanzaa as well as how to deal with grief during the holidays.
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