It is important in a diverse society to celebrate our differences and learn about our friends and neighbor’s traditions. The holiday season is a great time of year to expand our cultural horizons. Learning about each other humanizes us and draws us together. Humanity’s goal should be to see each other as individuals whose lives are precious and who were created and endowed with civil rights by a just and loving God.
Kwanzaa is a celebration of culture, family and community that began over forty years ago. Kwanzaa was created by Dr. Maulana Karenga to improve the lives of African Americans by reviving and instilling an appreciation for original African values.
This cultural tradition takes place over seven days, beginning on December 26 and ending on January 1. The seven symbols of the holiday are the mat (tradition), crops (harvest), candleholder (African ancestors), corn (children and the future), gifts (sharing of labor and love), unity cup (family and community unity), and the seven candles (which represent the seven principles of Kwanzaa).
The Seven Principles of Kwanzaa are:
1) Umoja (oo-MOH-jah) or unity of humankind
2) Kujichagulia (Koo-jee-chah-goo-LEE-ah) or self-determination to create their own future
3) Ujima (oo-JEE-mah) or collective work and responsibility
4) Ujamaa (oo-jah-MAH) or collective economics to build and maintain stores and businesses
5) Nia (NEE-ah) or purpose of restoring community to their traditional greatness
6) Kuumba (koo-OOM-bah) or using creativity to make our communities better
7) Imani (ee-MAH-nee) or faith in self
African Peanut Soup (vegetarian)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, finally chopped
2 large red bell peppers finely chopped
6 large cloves garlic, minced
1 (28 ounce) can chopped tomatoes with juice
8 cups vegetable broth (low sodium)
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup uncooked brown rice
(18 ounce) jar creamy peanut butter
chopped roasted peanuts (to be used as a garnish)
In a large stock pot heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell pepper and garlic and cook until lightly browned. This takes about five minutes. Pour in vegetable broth, add tomatoes with their juice and season with pepper and red pepper flakes. Simmer, uncovered for 20 minutes.
Add brown rice to soup and stir. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes or until rice is tender.
When the rice is tender, quickly stir in peanut butter using a whisk. Return to a simmer and serve.
Garnish with chopped roasted peanuts.