What is black and red and green
with seven significant flames?
The candles of Kwanzaa, an observance designed to review the old year and establish goals for the new.
The word Kwanzaa is a Swahili word and means “first fruits.”
Kwanzaa (/ˈkwɑːn.zə/) is a week-long annual celebration held in the United States and other nations of the African diaspora in the Americas to honor African heritage in African-American culture. It is observed from December 26 to January 1, culminating in gift giving and a feast.
The colors of Kwanzaa are black, red and green; black for the people, red for their struggle, and green for the future and hope that comes from their struggle. Therefore, there is one black candle, three red and three green candles. These are the mishumaa saba (the seven candles) and they represent the seven principles, which include unity, cooperation, creativity, purpose, and faith.
In years past, I have included Kwanzaa (along with Hanukkah), in my greetings at Christmas, so I wouldn’t leave anyone out. I must admit, my inclusion of Kwanzaa was perfunctory at best. I didn’t know much about it. However, when I saw a TV interview on First Coast News/Jacksonville, I realized the celebration was not a particularly religious tradition, but a nondenominational observance. Though I celebrate Christmas, not Kwanza, I can respect its principles, translatable in my own life and practice.
Love of Color
The colors of Kwanzaa are the colors of Christmas + the color black. I LOVE color and said so in three previous blog posts,
MY WORD for 2020
In the past three years, my guide words have included
Last year, 2019, brought PUBLISH to life.
For this year, I considered words like brave, listen, and potential. These are great words, but none of the three captured my imagination.
Then, Eureka! Writer Wendy MacDonald’s choice of “beauty” in November resonated with me entirely. Why? I can observe beauty as I continue my writing goals.
The blurb on my Instagram profile written several years ago solidified my choice:
So, my word, it’s 2020, a new decade dedicated to beauty in all its forms
The color of flowers
The Color of Love
The monochrome of human hands . . .
How do you define beauty?
How has beauty shown up in your own life?
News flash: Linda Joy Myers of the National Association of Memoir Writers, is featuring my book, Mennonite Daughter: The Story of a Plain Girl, on the January Virtual Book Club. Click here for more details.