Saw a story on AOL/Blackvoices about the alleged leveling off of popularity for the holiday of Kwanzaa. I, for one, didn't know the holiday was "popular." I know some people celebrate it, love it, observe it, but when I say "some," I really mean I've known only one black family my entire life who actually took it seriously and went through all the lessons, observances and traditions.
Anyway, the Associated Press ran this story about the lack of growth for the holiday.
Four years ago, Evita Broughton celebrated Kwanzaa for the first time with her family — lighting a candle each night and discussing the respective principle.
But she hasn't celebrated the holiday since.
"It felt like a school project that lasted seven nights," said Broughton, 27, of Marietta, Ga. "I didn't feel like I had that connection. I tried to share my experiences with others but no one else was celebrating it."
Kwanzaa, which runs from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1, may be a mainstream holiday with greeting cards, postage stamps and public celebrations, but experts say its popularity is receding.
I don't celebrate Kwanzaa, mostly for the reasons Broughton states above. I don't feel a connection to it and it feels more like a school project than a holiday. That and ... um, it has nothing really to do with Africa, as it was an American-born holiday created in the 1960s and most people from the motherland will look at you cross-eyed and confused if you ask them about it. I mean, I get it. Some people see Christmas as too commercial, but despite what some confused folks I knew in Bakersfield, Calif. thought*, Christmas is an international holiday celebrated by people of all races. I mean, you can put up your black Santa Clauses and your black Jesus (or for some, that would just be Regular Jesus) and go to town on some black pride if you want. I mean, that's what we did in The Snob household. We would just buy the Kwanzaa branded Christmas cards and decorations because my parents liked to buy holiday cards and decorations with black people on them. We're drowing in black angels and black Wise Men and black shepherds. My mother chased us around with copies of "The Miseducation of the Negro" when I was growing up. Everyday was effin' Kwanzaa in that respect. So the holiday just wasn't really necessary for us.
But, you know? Nice try and whatnot.
What's interesting is the Blackvoices' story that takes a much more sympathetic view towards Kwanzaa and its observation, but the comment section is far more harsh (and a bit more honest, I'd gather) in how some black people feel about the holiday. I don't think black people "hate" Kwanzaa. Some kind of resent it. But most are largely apathetic towards it and its observance. And the one family I knew that celebrates it, loves it and is very happy with it.
So, if you love Kwanzaa, love Kwanzaa. If you like the fact that the holiday has made it easier for you to buy holiday stuff with black people on it, be happy about that. And if you think it's a bunch of made up hooey and you wouldn't celebrate it even if the good Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. came back to life and sanctioned it as mandatory for your Black Card issuance, that's fine too. That's what the comment section is for. Let it fly.
*A few years back, when I was a reporter in Bakersfield, Calif. some of the white residents pitched a fit when a Mexican-American city councilman decorated the tree in city hall in little sombreros and piñatas. The common rant was "Christmas is an AMERICAN holiday" which didn't make a lick of flippin' sense considering Jesus was an ethnic Jew from the Middle East and Christmas celebrates the birth of that same Middle Eastern Jew. Oh, and Christianity is an international religion celebrated by tons of people who aren't Americans. But never let that stop a bigot from complaining about some fucking sombreros and accusing Mexican-Americans, who are like DEEP in the Catholicism, for being a bunch of American Jesus hating heathens.