The 7 Principles of Kwanzaa, Celebrating Creativity

We’ve officially passed the halfway mark of celebrating Kwanzaa. It makes me think how odd holidays are in general. Why is it that we take one time a year to focus on celebrating and recognizing principles. After all, isn’t a principle something that’s long-term… something that becomes ingrained in us? When I think of the past principles, Unity, Self-determination, Cooperative Economic… I wonder, will we wake up on Monday and feel we no longer need to support those concepts? Seems odd to me.

‘Tis the Season of Giving. It makes me think of feast and famine.

The Fourth Day (Kuumba)

Community Drawing-minSo… here we are, celebrating the fourth day of Kwanzaa with the principle of Creativity. Still going in order from left to right, we light the last red candle. As a reminder, the red candles represents of the struggle African Americans face. Official Kwanzaa website says Creativity means:

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.

The greeting of the day is “Habari gani?” The response is, Kuumba, meaning Creativity.

Significance to Me

I actually love this principle in theory. It’s a beautiful concept. I want my footprint to be beautiful. It makes me think of a quote by Banksy, a graffiti artist I looked about during art school. He said,

“I mean, they say you die twice. One time when you stop breathing and a second time, a bit later on, when somebody says your name for the last time.”

~ Banksy

I think about my family tree, and the names that go back to the 1800s. The names are reduced down to facts, date, birth, marriages, nothing left of personality. Beyond that, the names are forgotten. Who will be the last person who remembers I existed. When I think of the principle of creativity, it makes me wonder if I’ll leave a mark behind that’s significant and positive enough to make people remember me for generations.

Kids giving piggy back ridesI know I’ve twisted the concept of Creativity a bit to reflect upon myself. I imagine Dr. Karenga meant for it to be a selfless approach. For me, it’s not truly altruistic. I want to impact lives. I want to know that what I’ve done in this life matters… that someone was positively affected because I existed on this earth.

One thing I struggle with this principle is the totality of it. That is, “to do always as much as we can.” In a way, it conflicts with my value of having life balance. “Always” and “Never” don’t correlate to balance to me. I’m more on the lines of give as much as your heart tells you to give. That’s enough for me. I find when I give that much, it’s so much more rewarding for me. It’s never too little and it’s never too much. It helps me create guilty-free boundaries. And it fills me with goodness.

Those are my thoughts on Creativity. What about you?

For previous posts, visit the 7 Principles of Kwanzaa.