Wednesday, December 21, 2011

"Kwanzaa: 45th Anniversary of "Our California Grown" Black Agriculture Celebration" by Khubaka, Michael Harris
Sacramento, California ~
For 45 years, Kwanzaa is a growing living, active, social practice.
Kwanzaa was created by Dr. Maulana Karenga in the aftermath of the Watts uprising in Los Angeles, California, utilzing the best of ancient African traditions and appropriate modern technology.
While correcting her son Marquette Frye, Mother Frye, at the hands of LAPD, was reportedly knocked to the ground, setting off a sequence of events that continues to provide a shinning light of healing from personal chaos and mass community destruction.
The 1960's, remains an amazing decade of revolutionary change throughout America and the world.
In an American context, from 1760's to 1960's people of African descent were treated largely as non-human beings by law and by 1860, official U.S. Supreme Court law, ruled the land,enslaved or free, the Black man has no rights the White man is bound to respect. Lest we forget the amazing journey towards freedom...
Through generations of physical bondage, bloody sacrifice and strategic collective action, people of African descent along with supporters of all cultural backgrounds have fostered a more perfect union, indeed change continues to come,in America.
Clearly, the struggle for freedom equality and our own self-identity in America began long ago with the very first captured African human beings enslaved, disenfranchised and dehumanized. Today, a multilevel challenge to heal from the inside out, remains for a people disconnected from the source. Kwanzaa provides a consistent methodology.
Growing up as a Black Farmer in Maryland, Dr. Karenga remains inspired by the agricultural harvest festivals in Africa and he re-created a similar festival for America.
He and his wife Tiamoyo are very active, working in the vineyard and utilizing the gifts that have been given unto them,amazing scholars with few peers on planet earth, in my humble opinion.
Kwanzaa, is derived from the Kiswahili (East African language) phrase, "matunda ya kwanza," which means "honoring the first fruits of the harvest" and the first celebration occurred on December 26, 1966, Santa Monica, California.
Many people practice the principles of Kwanzaa year-round and other families or community groups will set up a table or alter decorated with the essential symbols that represent the reinforce the principles of Kwanzaa:
* The Mkeka is a straw mat onto which all of the other objects will be placed. The Mkeka symbolizes the experiences and traditions of our ancestors, which forms the foundation on which our own lives are built.
* Kinara is a candleholder that represents the original African foundation from which the world population owes a great debt and holds the Mishumaa Saba.
* Mishumaa Saba are the seven candles which represent the seven principles (Nguzo Saba) and are held by the Kinara. The colors of the candles are red, green and black and sit in the Kinara in the following order from left to right: three red, one black and three green. One candle is lit each night of Kwanzaa starting with the black, symbolizing unity and then alternating between the red and green candles, beginning with the red.
* Mazoa are the fruits and vegetables placed in a basket and set up on the table to be shared. They are eaten in honor of Black Agriculturalists and others who cultivate the land to produce the bounty of the harvest.
* Muhindi, or corn, is placed on the table for each child in the household. If there are no children in the household, one Muhindi is still added to represent the children and future of our community.
* Kikombe cha Umoja is the unity cup and represents family and community unity. Once filled with water, a measure is poured out in honor and remembrance of our ancestors and signifigant people in our lives who positively impacted our growth.
* The Zawadi are educational gifts or heritage symbols to help make us better people by committing ourselves to think good thoughts, acts,and behavior which will, in turn,benefit the community. "heritage symbol" reminding the children of the past and the future.

Each evening or dayduring Kwanzaa, the family or community will gather to light a candle, pray, sing, and discuss the day'shighlighted principle of the Nguzo Saba, 7 principles:
* Umoja means unity. It is a principle to strive for in the family, community, nation and race.
* Kujichagulia means self-determination. It represents the responsibility to create our own destiny.
* Ujima means collective work and responsibility. It is the commitment to building the community together and to solving one another's problems together.
* Nia means purpose. It is the goal of restoring African-American people toour original greatness, being responsible to both our ancestors and our descendants.
* Ujamaa means collective economics. It is the idea of building and maintaining our own businesses and profiting from them.
* Kuumba means creativity. Creativity must be used to constantly improve one's community and leave it better than it was in the past.
* Imani means faith. It is believing in ourselves, our families, our educators and, the righteousness of the African-American struggle.
The highlight for the Agriculture based holiday is the Karamu, a feast held on the sixth night (December 31), that brings families and communities together to give thanks to the Creator for their accomplishments during the year.
This feast includes a meaningful ceremony followed by lots of eating, drinking, dancing and, Zawadi, practical gift giving that reinforces the principles of Kwanzaa.
Although the holiday is marked by seven specific days in the year, Kwanzaa is an introduction to a way of life, an expression of being of African descent in the world.
The seven principles should be woven into the every day lives of African-Americans of all ages in order to help us understand the significance ofour past and build towards the future, united in the strength of our people, one aim, one people with one destiny.

Kwanzaa is a special time to reinforce your connectedness and Celebration of your African cultural heritage, to think deeply about how the seven principles apply to your daily life and how you teach your Children.
Agriculture is the Foundation of Black Culture, globally...

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