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Kwanzaa is an annual tradition steeped in African American cultural tradition, rooted in traditional African practices. Kwanzaa takes place December 26 through January 1 with each day representing an African spiritual principle called nguzo saba:
- Umoja — unity
- Kujichagulia — self-determination
- Ujima — collective work and responsibility
- Ujamaa — cooperative economics
- Nia — purpose
- Kuumba — creativity
- Imani — faith
#1 Practice sisterhood
What better way to practice Kwanzaa and Umoja (unity) than to incorporate sisterhood behaviors into your daily life?
Excerpt from Girls Guide: How to Be a Sister:
“Sisterhood is a largely untapped force, a kinship so strong it can threaten the status quo. Transcending superficial boundaries of beauty, class, and sometimes, race, the power remains more potential than actual because we often do not recognize our magical greatness. Before you point fingers at her, look at yourself.
Are you the best sister that you can be? Are you open to developing real relationships with other females based on mutual respect, admiration, love, and trust? Do you treat others as you want and expect to be treated? Only when you are a sister yourself can you define, identify, and bond with other sisters. Only then can we be the positive, life-altering force that can change what we know as reality to positively affect the world.”
#2 Know your neighbors
Another way to practice Kwanzaa and Umoja (unity) is to embrace members of your community.
Start with those who reside right next to you by getting to know them better. Introduce yourself and connect with them safely and respectfully. Your neighborhood is stronger when you know and trust each other through sharing and learning experiences.
#3 Make a plan
Practice Kwanzaa and Kujichagulia (self-determination) by plotting your next steps using care and strategy.
Put yourself and your community first by focusing on self-preservation, self-care, and economic empowerment.
Stick to your plan and mark milestones that you can reach every day, week, and month.
#4 Be adaptable and flexible
Also, practice Kujichagulia (self-determination) by being adaptive to changing environments and circumstances.
Stay on goal knowing that things can and often do change.
You are often tasked with changing, too. By being open-minded, you can do this more quickly and easily.
#5 Provide services to those in need
COVID-19 forces us to come together and think of the collective need above our individual desires.
Practice Kwanzaa and Ujima (collective work and responsibility) through service. Service can include volunteer work, for example, working at a food bank. However, service can also include providing health services, like healthcare workers, as well as counseling, and helping others be safe, economically productive, and emotionally healthy.
#6 Buy Black
We can practice Kwanzaa and Ujamaa (cooperative economics) by investing in our own communities in the African Diaspora to support those who have experienced a history of extortion, abuse, and marginalization. Most Black businesses are undercapitalized due to racism.
We can do better by supporting each other with more enlightened purchase decisions.
#7 Get introspective
The calendar year 2020 was a hot mess of challenges and joy-stealing. With it, many of us were forced to come to terms with who we are and what we have become as we pause and take inventory of our lives. Some of us do not like what we see. Of course, we have the power to change this and, with Kwanzaa and Nia (purpose), you can.
Firstly, you have to look in the mirror and truly see yourself. Then, you can start to evolve and elevate for positive change.
#8 Express yourself
Now is the perfect time to explore love of self and your uniqueness by expressing Kwanzaa and Kuumba (creativity).
Through your fashion, makeup, mood board, home decor, and other ways, you can find something that is really YOU.
Engaging in arts and crafts activities and by developing your hobbies, you can further enhance your creativity, which will help you to develop your emotional intelligence and even assist in your profession, no matter what it may be.
#9 Do something different
You can also practice Kuumba (creativity) by thinking differently. Think outside the box. Imagine more. Dream bigger.
Do the unexpected. Try something that you have thought about, but never dared to try before. Go outside of your comfort zone.
Expand your world view and range of experiences to activate your creativity. Now is the time.
#10 Expand your spiritual knowledge
By reading and learning more about spirituality, you can practice Kwanzaa and Imani (faith) with or without religion. Use affirmations and meditation to tap your power within to find the strength and knowledge you already have. Know that your path is yours alone and that others have their own paths.
Have faith that your path is one that is destined for success.
Image credit: Fashion Ghana