Kwanzaa started as a holiday to celebrate the strength of and create cultural traditions for a community once displaced. To me personally, Kwanzaa is a celebration of my mixed race family. Kwanzaa is a celebration of my husband’s family background, but we observe it as a shared family background. It gives us the opportunity to reflect together upon the ideal pillars of the African American community, and how to impart those principles onto our son. These values are
- collective work and responsibility (being community-minded)
- cooperative economics (supporting fellow businesses)
- creativity, and
In San Francisco, there is a whole schedule of culturally enriching Kwanzaa festivities to partake in from December 26th to January 1st. Each event offers community partners, live entertainment, and hearty food. To celebrate, all you need to do is show up. Other celebrations of Kwanzaa happening around the city are listed on our community calendar.
At my first Kwanzaa event, I was welcomed with open arms. Walking into the community gym, my husband, son, and I were greeted like we were family. Nobody batted an eye when my son got fussy and I pulled to the side to try to soothe him, or when he wandered nearby the stage. A couple of individuals in workout clothes who had come expecting to play basketball in the gym hung out in the back, intrigued. Nobody told them to come back later. Nobody told them they did not belong.
I am enjoying the holiday season as we navigate what it means to us as a family, and how we choose to celebrate it. What family traditions have you learned about from your partner? What makes your holiday traditions unique?