seems that whenever i mention kwanzaa, people are quick to tell me how every african-american person they know doesn’t celebrate it — or, they remind me of how it was “just invented” in the sixties.

as though holidays are supposed to be given as a mandate from go– oh. yeah.

claudia — a girl of ritual, a girl of celebration, and a girl who loves to talk about being brown — was ready for some kwanzaa. which means we were ready to get her some kwanzaa. she loves her kwanzaa book, and was well-prepared, saying “habari gani” to anyone who would listen, from day one.

well, i like kwanzaa. it is a thoughtful holiday, with both meditative and celebratory aspects, and builds a nice bridge between all the lavish celebrating of christmas, and the hard-hitting, frigid horror that tends to be new year’s day (particularly in philadelphia, when you live as close to broad street as we do.)

we don’t follow the principals yet day-to-day. they are hard principals for a two year-old to grasp, and we were snowed in a few days. but this week we ate at kilimandjaro, a senegalese restaurant in west philadelphia. plaintains are the new french fries.

we also went with friends veronica and satchel (and their moms) to the kwanzaa celebration at the gallery market east, where we saw some african dancing and did a bookmaking project.

claudia also completed a project independent of any instruction — a beautiful kwanzaa collage.

claudia’s kwanzaa craft has been brought to you courtesy of the exelon foundation.

have you heard of the great kwanzaa cake travesty? i never had. check out its genesis here:

and then read the story behind the “debacle”.

and have a joyous kwanzaa!

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