Hey guys, you might be aware that today is the first day of Kwanzaa. Kwanzaa is an African-American holiday founded by Dr. Maulana Karenga, just fifty years ago. It lasts seven days, and each day centers on a certain principle. (Today’s principle is umoja, or unity.) It was founded for African-Americans to celebrate their shared cultural heritage and traditions. (If you want to learn more about the basics of Kwanzaa, look here. ) Now, my family doesn’t celebrate Kwanzaa, but at an event earlier this month, I had the opportunity to learn about the holiday, and I really love the principles and what they stand for. So, this year, for each day of Kwanzaa, I will be writing about an experience I had during this year and how it ties in to a Kwanzaa principle.
Today’s principle is umoja. Umoja is the Swahili word for unity. (It’s pronounced oo-moh-jah.) Specifically, umoja means unity between family and the community, and emphasizes the importance of family togetherness.
This example is a small one, but it’s one of my favorites. Earlier this year, I had to watch the movie God’s Not Dead for my church’s youth group. I mentioned this to my mother, and she said that she would watch it with me rather than me watching it alone. We turned it into a family movie night, watching with my mom, brother, and dog, Kayla.
It was nice to have a night with just my family, without the distractions of technology. The movie was really heart-warming and it sparked a lot of conversation between us. (If you haven’t seen it, I would recommend it; it’s on Netflix.)
There was also another night when the three of us watched an episode of Empire together, despite only one of the three of us being caught up. That was nice too, even though the characters are irritating and are all doing stupid things. But that’s not the point.
It was nice to have a few family nights throughout the year, and hopefully there will be more in 2017.