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With Christmas and Chanukka over, we finally get to Kwanzaa.

Back in the 1966 a Negro activist (as they were called back then) named Ron Everett, decided to create a holiday. The 1960s was a time of experimentation, and as a black nationalist with Marxist leanings, Everett wanted to start the process of building an all Black paradise by creating a new culture based on a new mythology and alienating African Americans from the common American culture.

He had already had started by the creation of "Ebonics" a formalization of the so-called "Jive" dialect (officially called "African American Vernacular English (AAVE) by linguists), which would instill ethnic pride in speakers and further segregate the Black community from the rest of the nation, the inability to speak standard English, which is necessary to getting a good job, would radicalize Blacks and further the cause of separatism. Around this time, Everett changed his name to Maulana Karenga a little later.

Another way to further the cause of Black separatism was to create a mythical past, where ancient Egypt and medieval Mali were one and the same, a mono-cultural, mono-ethnic paradise which would still be going on if those inferior, evil white monsters hadn’t stolen Black culture, which they had no right to have, and mucked everything up.

True, this myth wasn’t created by Everett, but he publicized it big time, and many people still believe that Alexander the Great destroyed the Great Library of Alexandria eighty years before it was built and Cleopatra VII was a dead ringer for Angela Davis.

The term "Kwanzaa " is derived from Kiswahili, a language the ancestors of African Americans never spoke, and means "first fruits." The celebration centers around an imitation of Chanukah, with a type of a menorah called a kinara, which has seven lights instead of eight, and has the innovation of the "Kikombe cha Umoja" or communal chalice, which is shared around.

Each candle represents one of  seven principles of  Kawaida, which is Kiswahili for "tradition,"what Karenga originally called called Nguzo Saba (originally Nguzu Saba - "The seven Principles of Blackness"),

They are (and here I crib from the official website):

  • Umoja (oo-MO-jah) Unity stresses the importance of togetherness for the family and the community, which is reflected in the African saying, "I am We," or "I am because We are."

(Unitiy also means that the leadership of the group knows what’s best for the group, and that dissent is unwelcome. In other words: SHUT UP AND DO WHAT YOU’RE TOLD!)

  • Kujichagulia (koo-gee-cha-goo-LEE-yah) Self-Determination requires that we define our common interests and make decisions that are in the best interest of our family and community.

(Notice that this is "communal" and not personal. That also means that the leadership of the group knows what’s best for the group, and that dissent is unwelcome. In other words: SHUT UP AND DO WHAT YOU’RE TOLD!)

  • Ujima (oo-GEE-mah) Collective Work and Responsibility reminds us of our obligation to the past, present and future, and that we have a role to play in the community, society, and world.

(Notice the term "collective." That means that also means that the leadership of the group knows this better than we do, and that dissent is unwelcome. In other words: SHUT UP AND DO WHAT YOU’RE TOLD!)

  • Ujamaa (oo-JAH-mah) Cooperative economics emphasizes our collective economic strength and encourages us to meet common needs through mutual support.

(Cooperative economics is good old Soviet-style state planning. Only the leadership of the get the picture)

  • Nia (NEE-yah) Purpose encourages us to look within ourselves and to set personal goals that are beneficial to the community.

(This principle is different from the others in that it challenges the individual "to think for themselves" as how to fulfill the commands of the leadership of the group.)

  • Kuumba (koo-OOM-bah) Creativity makes use of our creative energies to build and maintain a strong and vibrant community.

(this actually is the only one which is actually good)

  • Imani (ee-MAH-nee) Faith focuses on honoring the best of our traditions, draws upon the best in ourselves, and helps us strive for a higher level of life for humankind, by affirming our self-worth and confidence in our ability to succeed and triumph in righteous struggle.

(Faith means trust in the leadership of the group, who know all. Etc, etc. and so forth)

Despite a completely BS premise, Kwanzaa has become very popular because you get presents and ceremonial is always good. The US post office has issued stamps to commemorate the holiday, and people spend millions every year on gifts and decorations.

At least Festus admits it’s bogus.

Originally posted to YoursTruly on Tue Dec 26, 2006 at 10:33 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Your point? (n/t) (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mary Mike

    / Makes me wanna holler and throw up both my hands. -- Marvin Gaye /

    by Sagittarius on Tue Dec 26, 2006 at 10:33:55 AM PST

  •  and that people celebrate Kwanzaa (3+ / 0-)

    is a problem for you because - what??

    and what about Christmas -- was Jesus born Dec25??

    Were there Christmans trees in Jerusalem??

    and Santa Claus came from where??

    and Solstice ??

    So what do you celebrate this Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Solstice season??

    and whatever you celebrate - that is true, perfect?

    Proud to be a Bleeding Heart Liberal

    by sara seattle on Tue Dec 26, 2006 at 10:35:26 AM PST

  •  People celebrate Kwanzaa, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JackAshe, dyrrachium

    therefore Kwanzaa is a real holiday.

    Should we strike Columbus Day off the calendar because he really found Cuba (and thought it was India)?  How about St Patrick's Day because Ireland still has snakes?  Or maybe Groundhog's Day because rodents can't forecast the weather?

    What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the will to find out, which is the exact opposite. -- Bertrand Russell

    by RequestedUsername on Tue Dec 26, 2006 at 10:41:32 AM PST

  •  A festival is something that brings people togeth (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mary Mike

    together, makes them feel good about themselves and gives an occasion to instil in children hope and confidence in their future.

    Kwanzaa qualifies.

  •  Christmas Trifle (8+ / 0-)

    8" sponge cake or ladyfingers
    1 qt cream
    1/4 c sugar
    6 eggs
    1 in vanilla bean
    toasted sliced almonds
    raspberries or other fruit

    Scald the cream with the vanilla bean, take it off the heat, then slowly pour 1/2 cup of it into the beaten eggs, then slowly pour the egg mixture back into the cream.  Add sugar and slowly over low heat, stirring constantly, until the custard thickens at about 160 degrees.  Do not let it boil.

    Remove the vanilla bean and cool the custard.

    Split the sponge cake horizontally then let the layers dry.  Place one layer in the bottom of a 6 qt cut-glass bowl, sprinkle with sherry.

    Alternatively, line the bottom and sides of the bowl with ladyfingers, dipped briefly in sherry.

    Place a layer of fruit on top of the cake, then repeat the layers with the other half of the cake [or another layer of ladyfingers] and more berries.

    Pour the cooled custard over all, covering the berries with custard.

    Refrigerate until the trifle is set, then sprinkle sliced almonds over the top.

  •  Uh... (0+ / 0-)

    Is it just me, or is this diary particularly offensive? Yes I know you had similar diaries for Christmas and Chanukah, but this one seems especially smug and vengeful. I don't think that many of the people celebrating Kwanzaa would agree that the ultimate goal is to "alienate" themselves from "the rest of the nation". One could attach that cynical logic to most any ethnic or religious tradition that does not conform to Americanized western values. Isn't religious tolerance one of the principles that this country was founded on? Is there some official government sanctioned religion we are all supposed to get onboard with?

    If you are going to start nitpicking religious ceremonies, I think you will find that there is a healthy dollop of BS in all of them, not to mention that they are often based on things that may not be historically accurate. And I don't think a living specimen of a flying reindeer has ever been found. Why not lighten up and let people celebrate whatever the hell they want?

    Being an agnostic, I don't care much for religion myself, but I am not so insecure that the sight of others celebrating in my midst causes me to go off on some tirade. Bah humbug indeed. Maybe you should go back to sleep?

  •  This Is Kind of the Same Argument... (3+ / 0-)

    ...I often encountered in grad school for history.

    "But (blank) is just a construct!"

    And the answer to this question, as simple as it  appears, should always be "And?"

    Yes, humans "construct" pretty much everything other the need for sustenance and death.  

    If you want to celebrate Merry Happa-Blappa Day, who really gives a shit?  Everything we deal with in this world is made up anyway, so do whatcha do, baby.  And take it easy.

    •  Tiggers happen to (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      enjoy Merry Happa-Blappa Day.

      And speaking of holidays...

      23 And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!
      24 And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!
      25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

      Sounds like collectivism run amok! </snark>

      •  The Funniest Thing About It... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tiggers thotful spot, JackAshe that although the inclination is always stick up for the more unknown or minority holidays when they're brushed off as weird or stupid, the exact same line of reasoning is applicable to Christmas.

        Hey, I'm Jewish with no particular reason to have any feelings about Christmas one way or the other (although I do wish Dunkin' Donuts was open, but whatever).  But I can't help but laugh when I hear...

        "Do you really think Jesus was born on..."

        Don't you know Christmas trees are a pagan..."

        "Do you think Jesus would recognize this holiday..."

        "Don't you understand that the Santa we're familiar with was created in..."

        That's what makes the War on Christmas (a/k/a, Jews Are Trying To Stop Our Sparkling Lights, Inc. (copyright holders, O'Reilly & Gibson) so laughable.

        I don't know every Jew, Hindu, Buddhist in the country, but if ask all the ones I know what they think about Christmas, they'll say: "My General Gao's Chicken was excellent.  But the Lo Mein was lacking flavor.  As for Rocky Balboa, well, let's just say they shoulda stopped after I.  But as a lover of all things kitchy, I can't say I'm too disappointed with IV.  Wait, what were talking about again?"

        So, Christmas in America is weird and a lot of it is pulled out of people's asses.  What a discovery!  Snore.  All I know is my goyisher friends seem to be in a good mood, and you can go out into the streets with your other Hebrew friends and pretend to be acting out the early scenes in 28 Days Later.

        Plus, as a lover of kitch, I can't say I mind those Santa Klaus statuettes that bark out Jingle Bells.  

  •  interesting (3+ / 0-)

    what's your point by the way?

    Are you mad that people celebrate a "fake" holiday? Or any holiday?

    PS your critique of kwanzaa reads like a typical Republican screed about the holiday. fascinating that republicans are constantly mouthing off about how horrible Black people are and when they create a holiday that promotes family values and togetherness they still mouth off about it. Republicans are stupid.

  •  In 30 Years... (2+ / 0-)

    Festivus will get equal time to Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, mainly because some enterprising soul will come up with a Festivus greeting card.

    The world has always found societal excuses to eat, drink and fuck. Who cares what name you give them or how they came about? If it makes someone feel good and doesn't hurt somebody else, enjoy!

    "The game's easy, Harry" - Richie Ashburn

    by jpspencer on Tue Dec 26, 2006 at 11:42:57 AM PST

  •  What's offensive about Kwanzaa. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Well, it's racist. The term "Holiday" is a contraction of "holy day." and while many festivals are totally secular, such as the Fourth of July, amost none of the holidays celebrated in the USA are based on ethnic superiority.

    Every ethnic or religious group has holidays. ML King day, Black history Month, Juneteenth, for example, are perfectly fine holidays. They celebrate and commemerate real people and events and for two of them, many people get the day off. Fine. That's really good.

    Columbus Day commemerates the most important event of the millenium. That's not bullshit. However, there are lots of people who object to it. St. Patrick's day is religous, and the government doesn't sanction it. (there were no snakes in Ireland until the late 20th century when a bunch of Neo-Pagans illegally imported them as a protest to Christianity.

    What makes Kwanzaa unique is it's idelogy. It celebrates Black superiority and seperatism, creates a mythical past which it's founders knew was such, and censures individualism. It also denies the incredable diversity of ethnicity and culture that Africa is home to.

    As to Christmas? Well, people have been bitching about Christmas for close to 1700 years now. A number of Protestant countries BANNED it for a while, most notably Scotland.

    I've no objections to Blacks having holidays. I mentioned above some perfectly fine ones above. However, I would object to a KKK day, and Kwansaa is to some extent that.

  •  Here is something I interpret differently: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TrueBlueMajority, Mary Mike

    The original poster said:

    Kujichagulia (koo-gee-cha-goo-LEE-yah) Self-Determination requires that we define our common interests and make decisions that are in the best interest of our family and community.
    (Notice that this is "communal" and not personal. That also means that the leadership of the group knows what’s best for the group, and that dissent is unwelcome. In other words: SHUT UP AND DO WHAT YOU’RE TOLD!)

    Self-determination could well mean governing by consensus; indeed, in context, I think that is more likely.  After all, the people who celebrate Kwanza don't have the equivalent of a pope!

    I actually think that Kwanza is very lovely; and if my whole family weren't so "white and nerdy" (as Weird Al puts it),  I would probably celebrate it in our home!  (I just love any excuse for lighting candles--solstice, equinox, prayer request, thanksgiving, advent, whatever.)

    I like conservatives. They're opposed to all questionable adventures abroad and for fiscal prudence . . . . It's right-wing nuts I can't stand.--Molly Ivins

    by Dar Nirron on Tue Dec 26, 2006 at 01:36:56 PM PST

  •  X-Mas as we celebrate it is made up too (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    undercovercalico, Mary Mike

    complete with mythical flying animals and vehicles that obtain speeds of light
    The war on X-Mas is also mythical

    "If at first you don't succeed, keep on sucking 'til you suck seed."--Curly Howard

    by JackAshe on Tue Dec 26, 2006 at 02:00:22 PM PST

  •  Sung to the Tunof of Here Comes Santa Claus (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    undercovercalico, curmudgiana

    Here Comes Ramadan
    Here COmes Ramadan
    You cant eat during the day
    Fish and CHicken
    IS what youre missing
    During Holy Days
    You are Moslem, I am Christian and we are still friends
    And it is that time of year when
    Ramadan comes again
    My Moslem friends fall out when I sing it to them during this time of year
    I hate to leave them out
    So Belated Happy Ramadan Everyone!

    "If at first you don't succeed, keep on sucking 'til you suck seed."--Curly Howard

    by JackAshe on Tue Dec 26, 2006 at 02:02:36 PM PST

  •  Is there a citation for the data you admit (0+ / 0-)

    cribbing from a web site?  Credit should be given to the original author.

    I find it difficult to determine what your point is and this whole thing smells a lot like racism to me.  What difference could it possibly make to you what or how others celebrate?


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