Kwanzaa… another holiday celebration

A friend and associate in India (founder of www.TheAchieversProgramme.com) sent me the below story about how African Tribes care for its members.  Reading it led me to be reminded that today, December 26 (by my calendar), is the first day of a 7-day celebration of Kwanzaa.

While there may be some controversy over this celebration,  “Kwanzaa is an African American and Pan-African holiday which celebrates family, community and culture. Celebrated from 26 December thru 1 January, its origins are in the first harvest celebrations of Africa from which it takes its name. The name Kwanzaa is derived from the phrase “matunda ya kwanza” which means “first fruits” in Swahili, a Pan-African language which is the most widely spoken African language.”* Although it was created in the United States, it is now becoming a holiday that’s celebrated around the world.”

*The above definition comes from http://www.officialkwanzaawebsite.org.  See it and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kwanzaa for full details on this distinctive holiday.

They Are Playing Our Song

When a woman in a certain African tribe knows she is pregnant, she goes out into the wilderness with a few friends and together they pray and meditate until they hear the song of the child. They recognize that every soul has its own vibration that expresses its unique flavor or and purpose. When the women attune to the song, they sing it out loud. Then they return to the tribe and teach it to everyone else.

When the child is born, the community gathers and sings the child’s song to him or her. Later, when the child enters education, the village gathers and chants the child’s song. When the child passes through the initiation to adulthood, the people again come together and sing. At the time of marriage, the person hears his or her song. Finally, when the soul is about to pass from this world, the family and friends gather at the person’s bed, just as they did at their birth, and they sing the person to the next life.

There is something inside each of us that knows we have a song, and we wish those we love would recognize it and support us to sing it.

In the African tribe there is one other occasion upon which the villagers sing to the child. If at any time during his or her life, the person commits a crime or aberrant social act, the individual is called to the centre of the village and the people in the community form a circle around them. Then they sing their song to them. The tribe recognizes that the correction of antisocial behavior is not punishment; it is love and the remembrance of identity. When you recognize your own song, you have no desire or need to do anything that would hurt another.

A friend is someone who knows your song and sings it to you when you have forgotten it. Those who love you are not fooled by mistakes you have made or dark images you hold about yourself. They remember your beauty when you feel ugly; your wholeness when you are broken; your innocence when you feel guilty; and your purpose when you are confused.

If you do not give your song a voice, you will feel lost, alone, and confused. If you express it, you will come to life. We attract people on a similar wavelength so we can support each other to sing aloud. Sometimes we attract people who challenge us by telling us that we cannot or should not sing our song in public. Yet these people help us too, for they stimulate us to find greater courage to sing it.

You may not have grown up in an African tribe that sings your song to you at crucial life transitions, but life is always reminding you when you are in tune with yourself and when you are not. When you feel good, what you are doing matches your song, and when you feel awful, it doesn’t. In the end, we shall all recognize our song and sing it well. You may feel a little wary at the moment, but so have all the great singers. Just keep singing and you’ll find your way home.

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Conclusion:
Most people who celebrate Christmas, do it but for one or two days… the 24th and 25th.  Yet the celebration of Christmas actually has twelve days.  Use this period as your bonus time to reach out to those you may not have been able to see, call by phone, or correspond with during the earlier frantic days of the holiday season.  Give them a call, write them a letter or email, or send them a gift now!  It’s never too late to “sing your song” to someone you care about.

Happy Holidays, Happy Kwanzaa and… Happy New Year!


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