Rest is a tradition, which is supposedly connected by a cloth to the whole society. Holidays give an opportunity to feel people’s sense of identity, to experience brotherly love and just a good mood. Such activities contribute to strengthening ties between people. A special time for celebrating is New Year’s Eve. In close proximity to each other, many people celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year and Kwanza. All these holidays find their response in the hearts of these revelers.
For most people these days are special and bright, but for some, such holidays bear something mysterious. This is particularly true for Kwanzaa. This holiday is little known to us. Meanwhile, this New Year’s festival lasts almost a week. He came to North America from Africa, now he notes about 15% of the entire black population of the United States. This exotic holiday simply could not help generating some myths around itself.
Kwanza is a religious festival.
In fact, this event is a triumph of culture and universal values that go far beyond the usual religious boundaries. There is reason to believe that earlier the feast was based on some ancient spiritual rite. But today this event is not connected with any organized religion, nor with the worship of a deity. According to the organizer of modern Kwanza, Dr. Kareng, this holiday is a cultural choice of man, and not religious. Kwanza embraced both African and American cultural traditions. The purpose of the festival is to recognize and celebrate values related to history, social structure, creativity, economics and politics. All these components are the basis of society. The idea of the festival is to unite the past and the future, which will contribute to progress and life success. Cultural celebrations allow people to grow, to become better with the experience they have gained. Simply put, Kwanza is not a religious cult, but a manifestation of the triumph of culture and our place in it.
This is an African holiday.
A more correct term, although so incomplete, will be that this holiday is still African American. Let’s talk a little about the difference of these concepts. First of all, it should be mentioned that Kwanza is a model of American creativity. The origins of the festival can be traced thanks to its creator, Dr. Maulen Kareng. This American lived in Los Angeles in the troubled 60’s. The doctor organized the celebration, based on seven principles, which he considered an embodiment of cultural identity. Karenga considered that in the African-American community of the country it is necessary to develop the cultural consciousness of people, pouring in there certain values. As soon as Kwanza began to celebrate, people themselves began to bring there elements and traits of their African character. For example, to determine many of the terms and customs of the festival began to use Swahili. And the name of the festival itself is translated from this language as “first fruits”. So this is a truly American celebration, which has its roots deep in African culture.
This holiday is only for African Americans.
Today this concept is not so categorical as it was at the very beginning of the celebration. Kwanza was specially created to solve specific needs and problems in the African-American community. The festival was to confirm African culture and its values. Another point is the restoration of common values in this cultural environment on the basis of the seven principles of celebration (unity, self-determination, teamwork and responsibility, cooperation, purposefulness, faith and creativity). Thirdly, Kwanza was to become a national holiday especially for African Americans. After all, at that time there was a fierce struggle for the civil rights of the colored population, it was necessary to restore cultural traditions.In this sense, it should be noted that Kwanza initially had an orientation toward African Americans. But over time, society developed, and the holiday itself changed. It was always based on the idea that there should not be any racial boundaries. The basic seven principles of Kwanza should find their response in the heart and head of any sane person. As a result, the ideology of the festival can and should strengthen the values of the whole society, and not only of the black population. As a result, the festival captures various cultural and racial layers, it involves white, Asians, Latinos. And they all find a common language. Thus it can be argued that Kwanza has firmly entered the homes of not only African Americans. Now this holiday can be viewed as a cultural holiday not only for the entire black population, but for all those who share its basic values.
Kwanza replaces Christmas.
This festival lasts exactly one week – from December 26 to January 1. In this case, every day, there is one of seven principles. The period of time for the celebration was not chosen at all to replace one of the traditional, celebrated at this time, but rather as an alternative. After all at this time of year there is a significant seasonal popular excitement and excitement. Kwanza really can serve as an alternative to other festivities, but this is not an expressed goal in this case. Rather, Kwanza has his own, other, goals – to enable people to celebrate the cultural values they profess. In other words, no one interferes or forbids people to celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah or anything along with this holiday. The presence of one should not become a ban for others. After all, Kwanza leads people to unite, not to separate or exclude.
Kwanza is a holiday for non-religious people.
This confusion is closely related to the first, which believes the religious essence of the festival. But it is possible because the rumor about the religious orientation of Kwanza has gone, many believing people began to treat him with apprehension. In turn, this gave rise to the view that in the event, believers simply do not participate. But in fact, it’s quite the opposite! After all, Kwanza is not a religious holiday, uniting people of different faiths in their pursuit of common values. The American social environment is quite heterogeneous in terms of faith, but most people correlate the holiday with unity and close cooperation, regardless of personal religion. As a result, Kwanza is celebrated among Christians, Muslims, Jews and Buddhists. All of them welcome the basic seven principles of this festival.
Kwanza is based on someone’s political views.
This statement is not surprising. After all, you can trace the roots of this holiday, coming from one person, as well as political and racial differences that existed at that time. There is no doubt that Dr. Kareng’s political views have become a motivation for the creation of Kwanza. Nevertheless, the celebration itself has its roots in the concept of celebrating the African first harvest and the philosophy of Kawaida. A number of African communities celebrate in the same form and traditions the first harvest. In fact, it was a time when people gathered to celebrate together and thank each other for success in agriculture. Kawaida is a philosophy that emphasizes the idea of giving meaning to anything in a social environment. Created on the basis of this Kwanza, it is a holiday that simply unites people for the purpose of conveying and presenting them with cultural and social values.
Kwanza is based on pagan rituals.
Like any other holiday, it has its own symbols and rituals. However, the ceremonies present here exist in the mainstream of cultural practice, rather than a pagan or religious cult. For example, the tradition of bottling wine (tambico). This action is based on the ancient Egyptian tradition of remembering our ancestors and their contribution to our lives.There are traditions of lighting candles (mishuma saba). Every day one new candle lights up as a sign of one of the seven principles. Usually it is traditionally done by children, although any person can perform this ritual. The meaning of the action is to highlight this day and try to strengthen the effect of the principle embodied in it. As a result, every action used in Kwanza finally goes back to some historical tradition and a definite goal.
This celebration is celebrated together by a large number of people.
Kwanza is designed to unite people. Therefore, there is nothing wrong with the fact that so many people participate in the holiday. This is a family celebration, which professes the basic values. So it is equally useful to celebrate Kwanza at home with friends, as well as to go out into the large crowd of people. In fact, many people do and so, and so. Some ceremonies they listen to in a crowd of crowded people, and some perform at home. There is no clear rule or obligation in this matter. The key is the participation of as many people as possible, and whether they will celebrate Kwanza together or alone will be another matter.
Kwanza is a political movement.
Nothing can be further from the truth, as this statement. The holiday aims to improve the social conditions of the people. As a result, Kwanza only emphasizes the importance of having a goal in life and participating in collective work. This is a holiday, not a movement. Although politics tries to include everything related to people in its vortex, Kwanza seeks to rise above the ordinary and focus on the inner world of man. Anyone admits that politics only promises to improve the material conditions of human life. But Kwanza says that every person can become better in the soul at the expense of relaxation and celebration in this period. And politics in its own form should remain for politicians.
Kwanza is a fictional created occasion to rest.
According to this myth, there is no reason to celebrate Kwanza. But this is quite far from the truth. Indeed, even a cursory review of Kwanza will reveal how the celebration is based on rich and significant traditions. In fact, every aspect of the celebration of Kwanza has its own history and purpose in its core. Every idea has its own beginning. If someone starts to explore the history of any holiday or celebration, it turns out that in the end there was some reason for his appearance and existence. In this sense, Kwanza is no different from the others. However, in this case, we simply see the carefully thought-out process of creating this holiday. It was not just an attempt from nothing to create just a festival so that people just had fun, ate and drank. The founder of Kwanza defined the social needs of the environment and decided that a mass festive event could gradually help in resolving some issues. Dr. Karenga himself says that the feast is a product of creative cultural synthesis. That is, it is the product of critical selection and reasonable mixture at once on several levels. So this holiday is really created, but created with a deep purpose.