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5 Reasons I started Celebrating Kwanzaa with my Daughters.

Hello Flower Tribe,

You're now privy to the fact that Christmas is not a big to-do in our family, but you may be unaware of our new tradition of celebrating Kwanzaa. 

Kwanzaa has always been something of intrigue for myself, but it was never a prioritized holiday in my family growing up. Upon becoming a mother, I knew that I wanted to be intentional about incorporating celebrations which allowed my daughters to celebrate their blackness & connected them more to self.

Here's how we began our Kwanzaa journey:

Year one, Kwanzaa was not a full fledged celebration. We were and still are still learning. Year one pretty much began with the teaching of a few basic things: the time span in which we celebrate, the names and principals of each day and the introduction of the kinara. Our teaching were limited, but we were excited about learning to celebrate and creating a new tradition. Luckily for us, my best friend and her family celebrated Kwanzaa yearly and so we were able to attend their celebration on January 1st even with our limited knowledge.

Year 2:

The second year was almost identical to the first. We were familiar with the basics of Kwanzaa, but still had not immersed ourselves into a full on celebration, although we had made progress. This year we all worked on the pronunciation of the days. The girls received gifts or did activities to celebrate the days of Kwanzaa. We were making progress, but we still had a ways to go.

Year 3:

This is year 3! On the first day of Kwanzaa my eldest daughter woke up and kissed me and said, "Happy Kwanzaa mom." She initiated the celebration through acknowledgement. We discussed the principal for the day and ways we would incorporate something of significance to match each day. For the girls, it was simply them being mindful how their words and actions traced back to the principal of the day. For myself, it was writing in my journal and doing activities that traced back to concept of the day. 

My journal activities involved beginning my experience in a space of gratitude. I began by writing a minimum of 3 things that I was grateful for. I then wrote down the principal of the day, definition and reflected on how my day was connected to the principal/concept. I am pleased to be able to say I upheld my commitment and have a 7 day journal of my Kwanzaa activities and points of gratitude.

The girls and I are still learning, much like any celebration, but I am glad we are celebrating and learning together. Next year, I hope to purchase an kinara. This year I simply purchased soy candles in the Kwanzaa colors and lit them everyday while I wrote in my journal and meditated.  Through reflection, there are 5 things that Kwanzaa promotes that I believe are beneficial for children of color all year long.

1. Celebration of ancestry.

2. Promotion of community and self-love.

3. Focus on values not consumerism.

4. Liberation of community  & self-pride.

5. Encouragement of creativity.

If you have not started, I invite you to join in on our Kwanzaa journey and any other practices which will help you & your family feel more connected to self.



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About the author: Courtney Brookins is a mother, poet, author and educator. She published her first book,  Flowering Yourself , which is a collection of poems. She is also the co-founder of OneSun3Flowers with her two daughters, which is an empowerment and leadership organization for women, girls, mothers and daughters centered around practicing self-care and building healthy relationships.

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