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Happy Kwanzaa:Faith/Imani Day 

01/02/2017

A Celebration of Family, Community, and Culture

The Principle Imani: “Commitment, duty, and obligation to trust and believe in our people and our parents and our meet all challenges and to make progress.”

Faith Theme: Believing in ourselves and our people.

Today is the seventh and final day of Kwanzaa. Families, friends, and communities come together on this day assess, reassess, celebrate and recommit themselves to practicing the Imani principle. Faith is the bedrock principle. Faith, as Mary McLeod Bethune said, “is the first factor in a life devoted to service. Without faith, nothing is possible. With it, nothing is impossible. Faith in God is the greatest power, but great, too, is faith in oneself.” Faith has been ever present in the black experience in America. At our most unpromising moments, faith has carried us forward, making us more hopeful. The infamous The Dred Scott decision, declaring that all blacks- those enslaved as well as those who were free -were not and could never become citizens of the United States, was a cause for despair. In response to this decision, Frederick Douglass would do his customary thing: He would begin with hope in his speeches, uttering “I walk by faith and not by sight.” And, of course, the second stanza of the Black National Anthem is an ode to faith:

Stony the road we trod,

bitter the chastening rod,

felt in the day that hope unborn had died;

yet with a steady beat,

have not our weary feet,

come to the place on which our fathers sighed?

we have come over a way that with tears has been watered;

we have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered,

out from the gloomy past, till now we stand at last

where the white gleam of our star is cast.

On Faith:

“Faith is the substance and spirit which makes “tired hearts refreshed and dead hopes stir with the nearness of life; faith is the “promise of tomorrow at the close of everyday, the triumph of life in the defiance of death, and the assurance that love is sturdier than hate, right is more confident than wrong, that good is more permanent than evil.”

– Howard Thurman

Ingathering Activity: During the morning, afternoon, or evening, family (and friends) gathers around the “Kwanzaa Set” to light the green candle and talk about ways they have demonstrated trust and belief in each other. Moreover, today is time for reflection and centering yourself. It may include letter writing, singing, poetry, folktales or proverbs or narratives in African American History which illuminate and reinforce the faith principle. This is the day also where families reflect back on the previous days of Kwanzaa and again celebrate the joy of living and the love which abounds in the family.

As with the other days of Kwanzaa the families discuss and evaluate commitments and practices around the faith principle, recommitting themselves to practicing this principle in greater measure in 2013.

Remembrance Activity (Optional): One of the activities in conjunction or separate from the ingathering activity is the remembrance of family members, friends, and significance others who have passed on and transition from this life. During Kwanzaa, we raise the names of our love ones who are no longer with us, but whose love and spirit we carry forth in our day-to-day lives.

Those who are dead are never gone,

they are there in the thickening shadow.

The dead are not under the earth

they are in the tree that rustles.”

Candle Lighting Activity: On the seventh day of Kwanzaa the family lights the green candle. This candle is symbolic of hope and future. The placement and order of the Kwanzaa candles teach and reinforce valuable lessons for the family. The lesson here is that we light the green candle to reinforce the value and priority we place our future.

Karamu (Feast) and Celebration: Enjoy yourself and the delicious food; this is time for celebrate the joy of living, love among family and friends and the achievement of which have been attained throughout the year.

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