For the past ten years, actress Holly Robinson Peete, her husband Rodney Peete, and theirĀ  twins Rodney and Ryan,12, and sons Roman,4, and Robinson,7, have celebrated Kwanzaa.

“We celebrate Kwanzaa at the Peete house. My kids learn more about their culture & heritage during these 7 days than they do all year at school! I just really like celebrating Kwanzaa-Kids get connected, a nice ritual , principles solid-honoring ancestors SO important, but every year for 10 yrs w/out fail hubby asks “Now what is Kwanzaa again??” Kids [laugh] but mom RME (rolls my eyes).

Kwanzaa is celebrated from December 26th to January 1st and is based on seven principles:

* Umoja (oo-MO-jah)-Unity
* Kujichagulia (koo-gee-cha-goo-LEE-yah)-Self-Determination
* Ujima (oo-GEE-mah)-Collective Work and Responsibility
* Ujamaa (oo-JAH-mah)-Cooperative economics
* Nia (NEE-yah)-Purpose
* Kuumba (koo-OOM-bah)-Creativity
* Imani (ee-MAH-nee)-Faith

Learn more about this Holiday

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  1. This thread has turned out quite interesting. I love the insight I was able to gather good and bad.

    I have many of my own thoughts about issues brought up–paganism, origins of holidays, cultural relativity, and how good can come of bad and what are the true motives behind certain things anyway, but I digress. It would turn in to a novella in seconds flat :-)

    I will say this, I do like the concept of Kwanzaa at its heart, with a particular focus on the seven principles and much of why it was originally established–black americans have been so cut off from certain roots and lacked the traditions that other ethnicities were able to bring to this country. But nothing is birthed in a vacuum, everything has the possibility to get “contaminated” along the way.

    And for those who say why take a particular time to celebrate, why not? I like the idea of taking a break from the mundane, and delgating a particular time for observance and reverance–I like ceremony, pump and circumstance, upholding healthy traditions and other demarcations saying you no what, this is seperate, different and time to break out the “good china”–yeah, they say, wear your good underwear everyday–not just on “those” days but still, nice to have a sacred time, a time a part–a day and a nite and not mix the two–what a gray world it would be without those demarcations…

  2. We don’t celebrate any “recently manufactured holiday” at our home. That includes Valentine’s Day and Kwanzaa. We also don’t consider ourselves African Americans, after 8 generations and visiting Africa we came to the decision that we would stop calling ourselves AA and say just Black Americans. We have a deep love, knowledge and conection to our African roots, but there is much more to being African than just the color of our skin.

    • I, too, consider myself Black American. Black being the noun and American, the adjective. Because there is a very special link with those of us who have been here for ages and don’t really know from where our ancestors came in Africa. We share a history, experience and entitlement that others do not have in common. I do know that I have African roots but since I did not immigrate from Africa, I am a Black who is American. That’s just the way I feel about it.

  3. No, I don’t get it, and I’m very conflicted about why it should exist. On the one hand, it’s celebrating African-Americans and values cherished by Africans and many others all over the world- the Nguzo Saba has only good things to offer. BUT… why not teach these things on a daily basis? You dress up in Kente cloth and recite the Nguzo Saba in Swahili and light candles for one week- then go back to the many terrible American values that are raising selfish monsters (I fully realize that it’s the same way at Christmas). How does doing these things celebrate any given African American’s true heritage? Africa is a HUGE place- slaves were brought from all over the continent. I’m an American born to Nigerian parents, so I’m just one type of African-American. I celebrate my Blackness and culture all year round- why pick a time that most people celebrate for religious reasons (I realize that Christmas is actually a pagan holiday, but has since been used to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ). Seems like it was invented because Black Americans felt left out of the holidays scenario, and wanted to include themselves. Revised menorah and everything. Kwanzaa would have MUCH better placed during Black History Month (another sham), if it has to exist at all. I’m all for celebrating one’s origin and culture, but do it right. Kwanzaa, the American holiday, seems like a distortion of that- it’s just WEIRD to me. I was raised celebrating Christmas, and I believe THAT is a distortion too. Live and love. Celebrate the holidays with people you love, because you love them. You don’t need to light candles, unless you think it just adds to the atmosphere, or wear Kente cloth unless you think it just looks nice. You wanna celebrate Kwanzaa? Embody these very ubiquitous African values:
    1. Actually respect your elders.
    2. Allow other people to discipline your children (within reason, of course).
    3. Work together.


  4. Am african and I can personally tell you that it is not a african holiday no africans from liberia (settlement of black slave & native) celebrate it we celebrate christmas and new years just like everyone else, go the church services on christmas eve and new years eve…but I think its great that she teaching her kids about african cultures especially since its not a subject that’s commanly being tought in school.

    • Your observation is correct, hnede, Kwanza is not an African holiday, it is an African American holiday which is not associated with the Christian version of Christmas. The holiday was not created to have Black Americans replace celebrating Christmas. People can celebrate both and you don’t have to be Black to participate. The Seven Principles can be applied universally.

      It’s not an evil thing. Habari Gari to you hnede and Happy New Years! Cheers!

  5. Just a little info about the Kwanza holiday. Kwanza is a cultural holiday without religious ties. Kwanza is a modern holiday instituted in the United States in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga a professor of Black Studies at a California State University.

    Christmas, Easter, Mother’s Day, Thanksgiving and other holidays held in high regard are also MADE UP holidays.

    Christmas and Easter are holidays copied by Christians and based on pagan holidays.

    Just the fact that each year the United States makes available government approved postage stamps means that the United States government officially recognizes the holiday.

    I personally embrace and celebrate all American holidays..especially if I get extra time off work for it.

  6. @Lillian,

    Neither do I, does anyone know how it relates directly to Christmas and Jesus Christmas (who is Christmas?)

      • Pisces, very impressive! Do you speak Swahili? Anyway, i do agree with you to a certain extent though i do celebrate Christmas. Do you celebrate Christmas?

        • Mamamia, Unazungumza Kiswahilli? (Do you speak Swahili?) Nido! Nizazungumza Kiswahili ( Yes! I speak Swahili) (just a few words, Mamamia). :)

          I do celebrate Xmas and I love it and I was baptized Christian as a child. Happy New Year and Habari Gari to you, Mamamia, you sweetie.

          • Hey Pisces, I’m impressed too! Go’on, girl :-) You are very knowledgable. When did you learn to speak Swahili? Several years ago, my boss introduced me to a man who owned the only African-owned safari company in Arusha, Tanzania. I was invited to visit, but I’m afraid to fly so I turned it down (silly me). Have you ever been to the homeland?

          • @ Teri…Habari Gani, Heri ya Mwaka Mpya! (Happy New Year).

            How are you Teri? A few years back I had planned on going with a group to Ghana particularly to experience the rain forests there, but I didn’t make it. It’s still on my to do list.

            I hope you are able to conquer your fear of flying so that you may also one day see our Motherland.

            I always love reading your classy comments, Teri, especially your debates on the pros of the institution of marriage. I’m with you, super intelligent and nice lady, you, Teri.

            Habari Gani and health, wealth and happiness to you and yours in 2010 and beyond. Luv ya! Please keep writing!

          • This is really cool– am kenyan so when i was surfing the site and stumbled across this i was really impressed.
            @pisces your Kiswahili is really good where did you learn it??
            anyway msherekee mwaka mpya kwa furaha chakwa pamoja na mafamilia na masahibu wenu.

            HAPPY NEW 2010!!

          • Ciiku…HARAMBEE! Hujambo, habari Ciiku. Asante sana! Heri ya Mwaka mpya mwema!

            I hope I said this correctly. I don’t really know Kiswahilli too much conversationally, but I did take a course in it awhile back. I used to be a mwalimu and would like to share samples with my students.

            There are no words to express how much it means to me to have received this greeting from you! I am humbled, honored and thrilled all at the same time. What a great way to start off the new year, receiving such positive words from you.

            With our President being part Kenyan, I think young people should be encouraged to learn more about his heritage and Swahili language. I’m sure President Obama knows some Swahili.

            Again, asante sana, rafiki. Hakuna Matata! You’ve brought tears of joy to my eyes.

            Luv ya and Happy New Year, 2010! :)

  7. The children look beautiful and proud in this photo wearing their traditional African garb. Celebrating the Kwanza holiday should only enhance and enlighten them.

    I celebrate Kwanza yearly by purchasing U.S. postage stamps commemorating Kwanza, and mailing Kwanza cards instead of New Year’s cards to my close family and friends.

    Because not a lot of people are on the same page in celebrating Kwanza as a tradition, it is difficult to incorporate the Seven Principles and celebrate together.

    I do acknowledge Kwanza every year and thank you to Black Celebrity Kids for this acknowledgment, too. This is just one of many reasons why I adore BCK. ASHANTE, BCK!

  8. I really like Holly Robinson Peete. I think she I a great mother, wife and actress. I love her children and think she is dong an excellent job raising the kids with her husband. I want to be just like Holly one day.

  9. I would love to celebrate the Kwanzaa. I think tha it is important to our culture. I wish I had saw the show that she was on with her kids celebrating Kwanzaa.

  10. No! We have enough holidays that incorporate those principles. Christmas and Easter are the reasons for those principles. (Shrugs) I don’t need African garb and extra steps to celebrate them.

  11. Everyone should know about “The Truth About Kwanzaa” (Google it)… especially if your Christian and your thinking about or your already celebrating this holiday

    • There are many links on this particular subject…is there a specific one that you would recommend reading (the 1st, 3rd, etc.) The one that I clicked on looked like a white supremacist site. Had to shut that down ASAP lol.

      Christmas was originally a pagan holiday and many Christians still choose to celebrate it-myself included – making it about the birth of Jesus. What would make a Christian not celebrate Kwanzaa?

    • BCK should look at this recommended site and consider deleting this reference. It is racist and offensive to Blacks and what the Peetes believe in.

      • Anybody interested in the topic should check out the Christocentric website (it’s not a White supremacist website, and why would educating Blacks with the facts about a Holiday be offensive to Blacks?)… I bet you don’t even know anything about the creator (Karenga)

        • Dr. Karenga was arrested in his past and thought to be a criminal, just as Jesus Christ was thought to be a criminal and was arrested by the Romans and crucified.

          Do you know the old saying about all religion? “You are saved by what you believe in”. Cest la vie.

  12. I watched a show where they redid her home for the holidays and she had a Christams tree…I’ll try to think of the name of the show. But she did have a lot of different cultural things in her home(and the kids were on the show too).

  13. I am taking steps now to learn more about it, in hopes to celebrate it next year. It’s such a beautiful thing!

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