December 26th – the Nguzo Saba principle of the day is Umoja (oo-mo-jah), which means Unity.

To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race. 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.”

Today, the black candle is lit.

In honor of Umoja, we met up with family at the Umoja Village Kwanzaa Festival, which will be the subject of an upcoming Intake column.

Kwanzaa question of the day: doesn’t celebrating Kwanzaa conflict with your Christian beliefs?

Answer: No. I’ve heard the argument before that Black Christians shouldn’t celebrate Kwanzaa for a variety of reasons. It isn’t a religious holiday and is as “pagan” a ritual as a birthday or an anniversary. Actually, much like those occasions, Kwanzaa is a time of remembrance, a cultural celebration.

One of the reasons I wanted to celebrate Kwanzaa as a family tradition was out of respect to both my multi-cultural heritage and that of my children. Few things answer questions as well as experience and this is a good reminder, reinforcing their story, appreciating this part of our heritage.

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”)