This post was originally going to be titled, "So what the hell is Kwanzaa anyway?" But then I read about it, and you know what, count me in.
So originally it was conceived of as a pan-african celebration of a shared heritage. A guy named Ron Karenga came up with it in the '60's as an alternative for african-american's to christmas, to help them reconnect with their african roots and common humanist principles.
Kwanzaa has undergone an evolution since its origination. It began pretty clearly as a black holiday during the halcyon days of the civil rights movement. The days before you could be dismissed as "PC" with no further discussion any time you suggest that maybe we shouldn't shit all over people who are different than us.
There were (and are) seven principles of Kwanzaa. I'm not going to list them here, but instead list Karenga's alleged paraphrase: "Think black, talk black, act black, create black, buy black, vote black, and live black." This will no doubt elicit cries of "reverse" racism, but I think its nice. I think its extra nice if you replace "blacl" with something like "local" or "humanist" or "eco-friendly" or some such thing. But only because I'm white and really want to get into this Kwanzaa thing.
But that's just how it started. Like I said, it has evolved. Karenga's most recent discussions of the holiday have described it as a supplemental holiday. There's no need to stop celerating christmas or hannukah or whatever else. You can do that too.
There are many quotes from Karenga out there. Many of them contradictory. But I don't really think any of that matters. I think a creation should be judged indepently of its creator. So here's the description I like most about Kwanzaa: "[Kwanzaa] offers a clear and self-conscious option, opportunity and chance to make a proactive choice, a self-affirming and positive choice as distinct from a reactive one."
So make the choice with me. We can all celebrate our common secular heritage. After all, it is not just "african"-americans who trace their origins to Africa. The entire human species can be traced back to the continent. The last time in history that humans all lived together without all this made-up bullshit about race and creed was in Africa. When there weren't these superficial differences that some people get so hung up on. Our common heritage, not just with other humans, but with every other plant and animal on this beautiful planet; with everything that has ever breathed in or out, or converted sunlight into energy, or converted fallen trees into new soil.
That is what we should celebrate!!! That is what we can celebrate with Kwanzaa!! And you can still celebrate that day in history when [Jesus was born]. You can do that too! But why don't we all rejoice in what unites us, instead of stewing in what divides us.