Happy Kwanzaa: Kujichagulia Day-Second Day of Kwanzaa

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Happy Kwanzaa: Kujichagulia Day-Second Day of Kwanzaa

Defining Kwanzaa

Kwanzaa is an African American holiday which highlights 7 principles (Umoja/Unity, Kujichagulia/Self Determination, Ujima/ Collective Work and Responsibility, Ujamaa/Cooperative Economics, Nia/Purpose, Kuumba/Creativity, and Imani/Faith) which corresponds to each of the seven days of Kwanzaa. The family and community are the context in which Kwanzaa is celebrated. Kwanzaa is a non religious holiday, celebrate by those of all faiths.

Defining Kujichagulia: To define the ourselves and the world in our own image and interest.

The Primacy of Self-Definition, Self-Respect and Self-Reliance

The Principle Kujichagulia demands that African Americans know, appreciate, and embrace their history and culture as a way of living and being in the world. The educator Mary M Bethune exhorted blacks in America to know that they had something special to offer the world and that they were the heir and custodians of a great history and civilization. Moreover, African Americans history is the struggle which has set America on a pathway of realizing its ideals expressed in its founding documents- Declaration of Independence and Constitution. And further, the history of African Americans reveals that the forced enslaved labor of African Americans fueled and made possible the American and European Industrial Revolutions through cotton production and the corresponding world demand for cotton, which was to the 1880s what oil has been to the 20th century. The Principle of Kujichagulia also calls for African Americans to create their own institutions by which they can express and exert their political will, maintain the integrity of their cultural production, and create sustainable businesses and financial institutions.

The Candle Lighting Activity

The candle lighting activity is one of the most spiritually elevating and socially significant activities of the Kwanzaa celebration. It is around this activity that each member of the family makes a commitment to work cooperatively and collaboratively with other blacks to build and sustain our own viable political, business, and culture institutions.

On this the second day of Kwanzaa, the red candle is lit This candle is symbolic of work, struggle and effort. The lesson for black people, but especially children and youth, is that progress, i.e., achievement, is the result of continuous struggle. Hence, school achievement and production as adults depends upon how much effort and work we invest in ourselves, our families, our communities, and our people. As Frederick Douglass teaches: “If there is no struggle, there is no progress.”

The Libation Statement

This is an optional Kwanzaa activity. The pouring of libation is for family members and love ones as well as historical figures who have passed away. They made it possible for us to live with greater freedom and enriched our lives in infinite ways. Therefore, we remember our family members-parents, grandparents and their parents by pouring libation and calling for their names. In doing this we keep alive their memory and spirit. This we owe to them.

The Self-Determination Day Commitment

The commitment for the second day of Kwanzaa, is for the family and its members to pledge to worked together as a family and with other blacks to build and sustain our own institutions. In short, this principle imposes a duty on blacks to know their history and to know and practice their particular cultural values.

The Family Activity

During Kwanzaa the family engages in a family activity that reinforces the principle Self-Determination (reading black poetry, singing historical black songs, citing the accomplishments of African Americans).




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