January 1st – the Nguzo Saba principle of the day is Imani (ee-mah-nee), which means Faith.

To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders and the righteousness and victory of our struggle. 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.

Today, the final green candle is lit.

Today is the time to answer soberly and humbly the three Kawaida questions:
-who am I?
-am I really who I say I am?
-am I all I ought to be?

We discussed the importance of faith and what our religious beliefs mean to our lives. The last day of Kwanzaa is capped with a feast. This coincides with our family tradition of everyone getting together at my uncle’s house for the smorgasbord that he prepares each year:

lobster, roast beef, curried goat, spicy shrimp, Jamaican patties, fried rice (with shrimp, pork, and chicken), macaroni and cheese, white rice, greens, stuffing, breadsticks/rolls (however, I saw through their evil plan: to fill us up with bread so that there’d be less room for the lobster). Dessert was four different kinds of pie and ice cream.

And because we haven’t had enough family time in the last week or so, the boys’ cousin is spending the night for a “boy party.” With will culminate with a marathon of Robin Hood, Cars, and the Nightmare Before Christmas. I can’t begin to describe to you how hilarious a rap contest between 4-6 year olds is. Freestyling for the next generation.

If I had to sum up Kwanzaa, it is a time of remembrance and appreciation. To remember where we’ve come from as a people and to value our time with family and community. It is a time of refocusing, reminding us of where we want to be and committing ourselves to getting there.

Libation Statement:
For the Motherland, cradle of civilization.
For the ancestors and their indomitable spirit.
For the elders, from whom we can learn much.
For our youth, who represent the promise of tomorrow.
For our people, the original people.
For our struggle and in remembrance of those who have struggled on our behalf.
For Umoja, the principle of unity which should guide us in all that we do.
For the Creator, who provides all things great and small.

Harambee, Harambee, Harambee, Harambee, Harambee, Harambee, Harambee*

*Swahili for “Let’s all pull together” – We use the track from the Sounds of Blackness’ The Evolution of Gospel.