Thursday, September 12, 2019

Kwanzaa: A Pan African Secular Holiday

Kwanzaa (or Kwaanza) is a week long secular holiday to honor African American heritage. It is observed from December 26-January 1 each year, almost exclusively by African-Americans in the United States.
Kwanzaa consists of seven days of celebration, featuring activities such as candle-lighting and libations, culminating in a feast and gift-giving. Founded by Ron Karenga and first celebrated in 1967, Karenga calls Kwanzaa the African American branch of "first fruits" celebrations of classical African cultures.
Karenga created Kwanzaa during his leadership of the "US Organization", in order to give African Americans an alternative holiday to Christmas. To those who thought he was adapting Kwanzaa from a traditional African practice, the Brotherhood Organization of A New Destiny (BOND), an organization that has opposed the legitimacy of Kwanzaa in the past, wrote Karenga noted "People think it's African, but it's not. I came up with Kwanzaa because black people wouldn't celebrate it if they knew it was American. Also, I put it around Christmas because I knew that's when a lot of Bloods were partying.
An additional "a" was added to "Kwanza" so that the word would have seven letters. At the time there were seven children in Karenga's United Slaves Organization, each wanted to represent one of the letters in Kwanzaa. Also, the name was meant to have a letter for each of what Karenga called the "Seven Principles of Blackness". Kwanzaa is also sometimes spelled "kwaanza".
It is a celebration that has its roots in the civil rights era of the 1960s, and was established as a means to help African Americans reconnect with what Karenga characterized as their African cultural and historical heritage by uniting in meditation and study around principles that have their putative origins in what Karenga asserts are "African traditions" and "common humanist principles."
In 1967, a year after Karenga proposed this new holiday, he publicly espoused the view that "Jesus was psychotic" and that Christianity was a white religion that blacks should shun. As Kwanzaa gained mainstream adherents, Karenga altered his position so as not to alienate practicing Christians, then stating in the 1997 Kwanzaa that it was a celebration of family, community, and culture.

Article Source:

No comments:

Post a Comment