Tuesday, December 27, 2011

"Happy Kwanzaa Celebration"_ Dec 26-Jan.1

Kwanzaa is a week-long celebration held in the United States honoring universal African-American heritage and culture each year.It features activities such as lighting a candle holder with seven candles and culminates in a feast and gift-giving. It was created by Maulana Karenga and was first celebrated in 1966–67. The first U.S. postage stamp commemorating Kwanzaa, issued in 1997.

The name Kwanzaa derives from the Swahili phrase matunda ya kwanza, meaning first fruits of the harvest.In 2009,Maya Angelou narrated the award-winning documentary "The Black Candle",the first film about Kwanzaa.

Kwanzaa celebrates what its founder called the seven principles of Kwanzaa, or Nguzo Saba (originally Nguzu Sabathe seven principles of African Heritage).Each of the seven days of Kwanzaa is dedicated to one of the following principles, as follows:
  • Umoja (Unity): To strive for and to maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.
  • Kujichagulia (Self-Determination): To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves stand up.
  • Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility): To build and maintain our community together and make our brothers' and sisters' problems our problems, and to solve them together.
  • Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics):To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.
  • Nia (Purpose): To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
  • Kuumba (Creativity): To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.
  • Imani (Faith): To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.
Kwanzaa symbols include a decorative mat on which other symbols are placed, corn and other crops, a candle holder with seven candles, called a Kinara, a communal cup for pouring libations, gifts, a poster of the seven principles, and a black, red, and green flag. The symbols were designed to convey the seven principles.

Official website: http://www.officialkwanzaawebsite.org/index.shtml 

This "Celebration" ties in nicely with my "African Safari Christmas Party 2011". A celebration of Heritage,Unity and Culture.

                                      "Heri za Kwanzaa"

Sunday, December 18, 2011

"In The Spirit"

As a kid,I looked forward to the month of November.That month signified the beginning of the Holiday Season. Thanksgiving was and still is my "favorite" Holiday...runner-up is St.Patrick's Day(and I'm NOT even Irish). Thanksgiving gave me a warm fuzzy feeling inside as a kid because it meant you were to give thanks for all your Blessings and share with others like the imaginary Pilgrims & Native Americans we learned about in grade school. Thanksgiving also meant my "Big Mama" would make my "special pie",Mincemeat.No one else in my family liked that pie...so I could have it all by myself! I still love that pie.

Christmas on the other hand,was "special" because you got to open gifts on Christmas morning,screaming with excitement about getting that prized gift  you'd been good all year ! The gatherings of the family,my Dad's "Asparagus Loaf",yum,Big Mama's(grandmother) from scratch Fruit Cake which had been soaked in Rum or something rather tasty,lots of food,sugar highs & football. We sang Christmas carols and the Nativity scene was always visible on the lawns,courthouse,schools of my small East Texas town,Crockett...yes,as in Davy..he passed through there on the way to the Alamo legend has it where his monument stands in Crockett.

I thought the "center of the universe" was Crockett,Texas.Now,as a person that's traveled to many places both physical & mental,I know better! There's a great big world out there.So,"In the Spirit" of wishing my "Blog Peeps" a wonderful Holiday Season with you & yours.....here we go:

Geseende Kersfees(Afrikaans),Boas Festas e Feliz Ano Novo(Brazillian),Mitho Makosi Kesikansi(Cree),Kung His Hsin Nein bing Chu Shen Tan(Chinese Mandarin),Glaedelig Jul(Danish),Joyeux Noel(French),Nollaig chridheil agus Bliadhna mhath ur!(Gaelic),Kala Christouyenna!(Greek),Mele Kalikimaka(Hawaiian),Mo'adim Lesimkha.Chena tova(Hebrew),Nollaig Shona Dhuit or Nodlaig mhaith chugnat(Irish),Merry Keshmish(Navajo),God Jul or Gledelig Jul(Norwegian),En frehlicher Grischtdaag un en hallich Nei Yaahr!(Pennsylvania German),Noeliniz Ve Yeni Yilniz Kutlu Olsun(Turkish),Feliz Navidad(Spanish) and MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!! There I said it!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

" The Griot's of Pinotage_Wine & StoryTelling"

4 December 2011,1 pm Central time,Jambo,..I had a Farm in Kenya..the African Safari Christmas Party began. In a Dinner scene_ "Out of Africa"movie_Meryl Streep aka (Isak Dinesen/Karen/Tanne)was told by her lover Denys Finch(Robert Redford)_after a couple of bottles of Wine _to tell a story. Redford got the ball rolling with...."Once upon a time....So,I decided at my party we'd continue the oral tradition of the West African Storyteller's called Griots. We'd had the "Appetizers"_ Akara & Meshwiya (Black eyed Pea Fritters & Hot Pepper Relish),the Puree of Legumes w/Plantain Chips,Olives,Lemon Roasted Okra,etc...and a couple of bottles of Nederburg's 2008 Pinotage & Diemersfontein 2010 Pinotage_both S.African Wines.Introducing "The Griot's of Pinotage"... (post-party pic)

Let me just say,by the time the Storytelling had ended_we were all in tears from laughter.What a creative group..I DARE NOT share the Story line for fear of having to go into a "Witness Protection Program"! Wine + Storytelling will "Get The Party Started"!I'm still laughing three days later....

.."A tale might begin with the image of a place,a house,a landscape,and then the dream of the inhabitants.Or it might begin with a "real", lived event.But that is only a grain of dust around which the pearl grows.Storytelling sinks the thing into the life of the Storyteller,in order to bring it out of the person..the traces of which cling to the storyteller the way handprints of the potter cling to the clay vessel" from ("The Life of a Storyteller,Isak Dinesen by Judith Thurman)

As always,I so enjoyed researching the Foods,Music and Culture of Africa! Everyone was given a Passport Book depicting the 10 countries we have visited as Mental Travelers.I added stamps from some of the countries and the themed party name & year. May,I suggest you gather your pals together & travel the world_right in your home.I posted the Menu in the last blog..it was all good! Here's a couple of photos from the party. Next Passport Party_ "SPAIN"!

                             Tagines,Passports,African Princess,Kenyan Giraffe Bowl...

                                  Pith Helmet,Movie Stills,Toasting Glasses,Mud Cloth..

                            Lantern,Isak Dinesen Books,Elspeth Huxley's "Flame Trees of Thika...

 Animals,Sri Lanka Tea Chest,Whip,Binoculars,Compass,Postcard,S.African Tote..
Note:White Bengal Tigers not indigenous to Africa,mutation of Bengal Tigers,I just like their blue   eyes!)                                                              

                                Batik Art Print,Zebra sculpture,etc..


                                                 Christmas Tree....

                                          The other Christmas Tree......

                                          Pre-Party photo..


                                          British Pith Helmet_Safari Fashionista!