OUR COMMON GROUND           with Janice Graham

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The Day of Meditation
(Siku ya Taamuli)

The last day of Kwanzaa is the first day of the new year, January 1. Historically this has been for African people a time of sober assessment of things done and things to do, of self-reflection and reflection on the life and future of the people and of recommitment to their highest cultural values in a special way. Following in this tradition, it is for us then a time to ask and answer soberly and humbly the three Kawaida questions: Who am I; am I really who I say I am; and am I all I ought to be? And it is, of necessity, a time to recommit ourselves to our highest ideals, in a word, to the best of what it means to be both African and human in the fullest sense. (Click Here for the Odu Ifa meditation)

This Day of Assessment or Day of Meditation is noted in the first-fruits celebration of the Akan by J. B. Danquah. He states that the Akan have one day during the first-fruits harvest in which they simply engage in quiet reflection. "The idea on this (day) is to maintain a quiet, humble and calm attitude with regard to oneself and towards one's neighbors." It is thus a good time for reassessment and recommitment on a personal and family level.

Closely related to this is an activity also noted by both Danquah and Sarpong, the Day of Remembrance of the ancestors or the Adae Dr. Maulana Karenga, wife Tiamoyo and children enjoy celebrating the traditions of the Kwanzaa holidaycelebration. We referred to it above as Akwasidae, but one could also use one of the days of Kwanzaa to pay special homage to the ancestors, those of the national community and those of the family. And this Day of Remembrance may also be a part of the Day of meditation or more precisely, the Day of Assessment.

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