Tuesday 20 December 2016


Reader Ruadhan tells us how she and her family celebrate Christmas... and trust me, it's very cool!

Ruadhan says:
My family is from all over the world. Although most of us, including myself, are Catholics, we have relatives in South Africa who celebrate Kwanzza, a week-long celebration held mostly in the African regions of the Americas between December 26th and January 1st. My family celebrate Kwanzza because some of them are African-American or have close relatives (brothers, sisters...) who are. Because they live in Africa, which is so far away, we have a huge family gathering every two years. This year is one of the big gatherings, and it will be held at my house! I absolutely love it as I get to see my cousins, aunts and uncles.

My favourite part of the celebration is lighting the Mishumaa Saba, the seven candles. The candles are black (for the people). red (for their struggle) and green (for the future). The Mishumaa Saba represent the seven principles. The black candle represents Umoja (unity) and is placed in the centre of the kinara. The red candles represent the principles of Kujichagulia (self-determination), Ujmaa (co-operative economics) and Kuumba (creativity), and these go to the left of the black candle. The green candles, to the right, represent the principles of Ujima (collective work and responsibility), Nia (purpose) and Imani (faith). You light the black candle first and the others from left to right on the remaining days.

Kwanzza does not replace Christmas, but is just as much fun. We also have gift giving and a huge feast on the last day of the celebration.  My auntie always makes a dinner of Malawian food like Nsima (silent n!) and beans so we can remember those who cannot enjoy Kwanzza like we can. (The picture doesn't do it justice - it tastes SO much better than it looks!) I enjoy Christmas, but I think I like Kwanzza just a little bit more!

Cathy says:
Wow... this is SO fascinating! I don't know anything about Kwanzza, but it sounds amazing! Does YOUR family have a different way of celebrating Christmas? COMMENT BELOW to tell us more!

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