Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Kwanzaa

This is a belated festive musing... most of the blogs I read seem to be American, and I love the different perspective it gives me on stuff. During their elections I was reading blogs from opposite extremes and it was so nice to get an idea of what the folk on the ground were making of the impenetrable rhetoric. It's also been a shock to hear how hard the recession is really hitting folk there (one tends to dimiss news reports as hysterical) - I am so very lucky to be where I am right now.

So anyhow, in the run up to Christmas almost everyone in the US and Canada were wishing each other "Happy Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa". I sort of get Hanukkah (although from my research the meaning has mutated a long way from the original and is now a kind of Christmas thing) but what was this Kwanzaa? Sounds ethnic. Maybe it's a Native American mid-winter festival thing?

I asked Suzanne and she responded with something along the lines of "Well, if the African doesn't know then wow!" Hmm, ok, an African celebration? I hadn't heard of this, so I googled it: Kwanzaa: basically a newish Black-African-American celebration of heritage, that falls over the Christmas week.

Interesting.

1 comment:

Suzanne said...

Yeah, it was begun in 1968, but didn't gather steam until the latter part of the 1990's. At the time, the fact that it was a celebration of AFRICAN heritage.
It was presented such that tradtions and celebrations held for years in Africa were now being brought to the American people.
It is truly an American thing, and depending on where you are, you may not even know anything about it!
The reason why you even hear about it is that some people take great offense to hearing "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas. Most of this people are insensitive to the fact that not everyone celebrates Christmas. That's why a very small holiday celebrated by small percentage of people of African ancestry is mentioned in the same breath as Christmas and Hannukah here.