Why I Celebrate Kwanzaa


Ujamaa is Saturday's principle, if you're celebrating Kwanzaa like Ebony contributor Makkada B. Selah. The writer notes that she and her family are often in the minority when it comes to practicing Maulana Karenga's post-Christmas ceremony.

Every year my family gathers the on the first day of Kwanzaa, December 26. This was a mandate of my paternal grandmother's. Long before she died, she told my aunts: "I know you want to spend Christmas with your families, your significant others, your children, your friends or what have you. Just set aside the day after Christmas to come and see me."

My grandmother, born in 1906, Sampson County, North Carolina, didn't know anything about Kwanzaa, or Swahili or kinaras or mkekas or even the significance of the red, black and green. But she did have the sense that it was important for us to gather as a family. All of us, all the grandchildren, cousins, aunts and uncles every single year. She called it "fellowship."

So we conduct family fellowship every year on the first day of Kwanzaa, the day of Umoja, which quite fittingly, means unity, and we did so again this Kwanzaa.


Read Makkada B. Selah's entire piece at Ebony.

The Root aims to foster and advance conversations about issues relevant to the black Diaspora by presenting a variety of opinions from all perspectives, whether or not those opinions are shared by our editorial staff. 

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