Pan AfRaKan Amen Days
This Sciences and metaphysics were taught through parables, and analogies...
There are hundreds of stories of the Mother and Sun icon, that had been told and retold through the ages to venerate the exceptional relationship of mother and child (Sun), to the highest honor and virtue of the crown of life.
- The Heru Peret Seed Festival and KaMaTa Vernal Equinox- from December 25th through April
- The Ausar Ankh Festival and Kemetic New Year- Summer Solstice Celebration / from May through July
- The Sheps Ancestor Ascension Ceremony of the Autumnal Equinox Celebration / from August through November
- The Birth of Heru and Ressurection of Ausar - The Winter Solstice Ceremony / From November to December 24th
Umoja Karamu, translated as "unity feast" in English, is an Afrakan American legacy of history and harvest celebration initiated in 1971 by Dr. Edward Sims, Jr. Umoja Karamu is held on the fourth Sunday in November. Its purpose is to instill solidarity, Afrakan values, and appreciation of Afrakan heritage into Afrakan families. Salutations to The African American Flag, Singing of the Afrakan American Anthem, African Spiritual libations to honor Ancestors, historical readings, and an abundant harvest feast marks the observance.
The celebration is based on five significant periods of Afrakan life in America, each represented by a color.
1. Afrakan Sovereignty
Represents Afrakan family prior to the invasions and influence of Europeans and Arabs. The color Black and Black beans are used to delineate the unity of the Afrakan people.
2. Maafa (Afrakan Holocaust)
Captivity of Afrakans during the Maafa. Rice Symbolizes the scattering of black families during slavery and the attempted destruction of Afrakan civilization culture.
3. Abolition of enslavement and eventual Emancipation for Afrakans in America
The fight against forced labor and captivity in the United States of America through revolts, Civil Rights and the Black Power movements. The color red and red juice is used to represent those who lived and died in service of liberation.
4. Struggle for Re-Afrakanization Human and Civil Rights movement
National Liberation. The fight for decolonization of Afrakan countries the formation of the Organization for Afrakan Unity and the diasporic Afrakan liberation movements. The color green signifies the land and the struggle for Afrakan unification with cultural hegemony.
5. Envisioning the Afrakan Future
The Future of Afraka and Afrakans. Exemplified in The Afrakan Union, The African Socialist International, and The Sankofa Movement among others. Afrakan centered perspectives for the future. The color gold points celebrants to plan and build for future posterity.
Kwanzaa is a Pan-African holiday which celebrates family, community, and culture. Celebrated the day after the winter Solstice ends (December 25th), on 26th December thru 1st January, its origins are in the first
harvest celebrations of Africa from which it takes its name. The name Kwanzaa is derived from the phrase "matunda ya kwanza" which means "first fruits" in Swahili, a Pan-African language which is the most widely spoken African language.
The first-fruits celebrations are recorded in African history as far back as ancient Kemet and Nubia and appear in ancient and modern times in other classical African civilizations such as Ashantiland and Yorubaland. These celebrations are also found in ancient and modern times among societies as large as empires (the Zulu or kingdoms (Swaziland) or smaller societies and groups like the Matabele, Thonga, and Lovedu, all of southeastern Africa. Kwanzaa builds on the five fundamental activities of Continental African "first fruit" celebrations: ingathering; reverence; commemoration; recommitment; and celebration. Kwanzaa,
First, Kwanzaa was created in 1965 to reaffirm and restore our roots in African culture. It is an expression of recovery and reconstruction of African culture. Secondly, Kwanzaa was created to serve as a regular communal celebration to reaffirm and reinforce the bonds between us as a people. It was designed to be an ingathering to strengthen community and reaffirm common identity, purpose, and direction as a people and a world community. Thirdly, Kwanzaa was created to introduce and reinforce the Nguzo Saba (the Seven Principles.) These seven communitarian African values are Umoja (Unity), Kujichagulia (Self-Determination), Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity), and Imani (Faith). This stress on the Nguzo Saba was at the same time an emphasis on the importance of African communitarian values in general, which stress family, community and culture and speak to the best of what it means to be African in the fullest sense.
*African Liberation Day
ALD was founded in 1958 when Kwame Nkrumah convened the First Conference of Independent States held in Accra, Ghana and attended by eight independent African states. The 15th of April was declared "African Freedom Day," to mark each year the onward progress of the liberation movement, and to symbolize the determination of the people of Africa to free themselves from foreign domination and exploitation.
Between 1958 and 1963 the nation/class struggle intensified in Africa. Seventeen countries in Africa won their independence and 1960 was proclaimed the Year of Africa. Further advances were made with the defeat of U.S. imperialism in the Caribbean. On the 25th of May 1963, thirty-one African Heads of state convened a summit meeting to found the Organization of African Unity (OAU). They renamed African Freedom Day "African Liberation Day" and changed its date to May 25th.
Sheps (Ancestars) Ascension Days
For almost 96 percent of the world's population, ritual offerings and prayers to deceased blood relatives are an integral part of everyday life. People of Eastern cultures such as the Chinese, Koreans, Indians, Japanese, and Tibet, along with great segments of the populations of South America, Mexico, Cuba, Bali, Indonesia, Polynesia, Mongolia, the Eastern Baltics, Iceland, and New Guinea offer respect to and seek guidance from their ancestors. Yet because most of us in the Western world were raised in the Jewish, Islam, and Christian traditions, which proscribe ancestor worship, Western newcomers to KMT or Ifa tend to be skeptical of it. Ancestor worship fits perfectly into the Ifa devotee's integrated view of the physical and spiritual worlds.
*Egungun FestivalThe Egungun are a secret society among the Yoruba people of Ede, Oyo State, Nigeria. The major Egungun festival takes place in June, when members of the society come to the marketplace and perform masked dances. The masks they wear represent ancestral spirits and may cover the whole body or just the face. It is considered dangerous to see any part of the man who is wearing the mask—an offense that was at one time punishable by death.
The masqueraders all dance simultaneously, although each has his own drum accompaniment and an entourage of chanting women and girls. The festival climaxes with the appearance of Andu, the most powerful mask. It is believed that the spirits of the deceased possess the masqueraders while they are dancing, and although it promotes a feeling of oneness between the living and the dead, the festival also inspires a certain amount of mystery and superstition.
The Egungun Festival is part of the religious practices of the Yoruba people of Ede, Nigeria. The Yoruba religion is based on oral traditions. Beliefs and practices are preserved by passing history, customs, and traditions from one generation to the next. Authority for interpreting events and establishing proper conduct of ethics and morals rests with a bureaucratic structure of rulers who function in both religious and political realms.
According to traditional Yoruba belief, all power in the universe emanates from a supreme being, Olodumare. Olodumare, known as the owner of everlasting abundance, among many other praise names, holds all power and is the giver of all life. Olodumare is the mystical remote source of all things and is not identified by gender. All that exists, including supernatural divine realities and natural earth realities, are part of Olodumare.
As the supreme almighty source, Olodumare is directly involved in the affairs of the earth through a complex core of sub-divinities called orisa. The orisa are authoritative divine emissaries and serve as intermediaries between the people of earth and Olodumare. They are the major objects of veneration and ritual obligation. The names and number of orisa vary according to national and local custom, but they number in the hundreds. Some are more nationally known while others may be only venerated according to localized custom.
The Egungun is a secret society among the Yoruba people of Nigeria. A hereditary chief called the Alagba heads the society, which celebrates its most important festival in June. Members of the society come to the marketplace and perform dances for the Timi, or chief, wearing MASKS that represent the spirits of deceased ancestors. Which spirits are worshipped each year is decided by the Oracle. A man who is instructed by the oracle to worship his ancestor has a special mask made for the dance. Although he himself doesn't participate in the dance, he is considered the owner of the mask. He takes it to the Alagba, along with appropriate gifts, and the Alagba secretly appoints a member of the Egungun society to wear it during the festival.
About thirty masqueraders in long, colorful robes gather in a grove not far from town and then arrive as a group to perform their dances in the marketplace. Some Egungun dance in one place, while others make sudden movements toward the surrounding spectators. When one leaps forward, the young men acting as guards lash out with their whips to prevent anyone from coming near the masked figure. The high point of the festival is the appearance of Andu, the most important and powerful mask. The other masqueraders clear a path for him, and the drums beat louder and faster as Andu rushes into the marketplace.
It is the Egungun who listen to the requests of the living and carry their messages back to the ancestral community in heaven. Women who are having difficulty conceiving, for example, frequently ask the masked figures to grant them, children. The responses of the Egungun can be fierce as well as generous. They expect their descendants to uphold the highest moral standards and are quick to expose the evil thoughts that neighbors harbor against one another. Even though the annual appearance of the Egungun in the streets of Yoruba towns and villages inspires a certain amount of fear, it also assures the people of their continued guidance.
The word "Egungun" is sometimes translated literally as "bone" or "skeleton." This is probably the result of a misunderstanding of the correct tone, since Yoruba is a tonal language. When the word is pronounced with the correct tone, it means "masqueraders." Today there is a thriving community of Egungun worshippers in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil, where they wear the colorful costumes of their Nigerian counterparts.
SYMBOLS AND CUSTOMS
Some of the Egungun masks consist of colored cloth and leather that cover the entire body while the dancer looks out through a closely knitted net. Others are wooden masks worn in front of the face, and still, others are carved heads worn on top of the dancer's own head. The mask-wearers are always accompanied by men holding sticks or whips who keep the crowd from getting too close. This is because it is considered extremely dangerous to approach the spirits of the deceased. According to an old Yoruba proverb, "Even a Prince cannot go near an Egungun with impunity." At one time, anyone who saw even part of the man who was wearing the mask could be put to death as a punishment.
Each mask represents the spirit
The Yoruba honor the annual return of the ancestors to the world of the living during the season of the yam harvest. Their arrival not only brings a blessing upon the crops, but stands as a reminder that it was the ancestors who first cultivated Yoruba land.
When a Yoruba man dies, the Egungun are especially concerned about the separation of the dead from their former life. So after a certain amount of time has elapsed, the widow is led to a mound of earth that represents her husband. From this, she takes a yam, which symbolizes the last gift she will receive from him. Then, a week or so later, one of the Egungun visits her house and calls to the dead person in a high-pitched or nasal voice. This is a signal for the dead person to leave the earth and his family behind.
ODUNDE originates with the Yoruba people of Nigeria, West Africa. It means "Happy New Year." Odunde is celebrated during the Afrakan new year, of the Summer Solstice- June 21st-22nd. The ODUNDE festival is an occasion marked by joy and hope, a joy which is highlighted by a colorful procession to the River (at noon) where offerings of fruits and flowers are made to Oshun, the Goddess of the River. The religion, called IFA, embraced by the Yoruba people is very old. It involves the worship of one God and 401 Orishas (manifestations). Included in its three tiers of worship is “Ancestor remembrance” in the offering of libations, divinations and other such acts.
OSHUN is one of the orishas worshiped in the Ifa religion. She is one of the youngest orishas and is a female energy. As orisha of the river, she represents beauty, vanity, sensuality and attractiveness. Everyone is invited to participate in the revered processional to the river. The offerings to OSHUN is one of the sacred aspects of ODUNDE, During the processional to the river praise is given to all orishas, in the Yoruba language, especially to OSHUN. Oriki, (songs) are sung in a particular order with the BATA, special two-headed drums used only for special occasions.
Once the processional reaches the bridge, incantations and prayers are offered in Yoruba. The Priest or Priestess ask OSHUN if our offerings are acceptable. Once a positive response is interpreted participants are given instructions to make their offerings.
The celebration then transforms into a joyous street fair Complete with live music, dance performances, food, activities, and an authentic African marketplace, the Odunde Festival brings a celebration of Africa every June.
*Heroes' Day Namibia
Heroes' Day is a national holiday celebrated annually on 26 August in Namibia. The day commemorates the Namibian War of Independence which began on 26 August 1966 at Omugulugwombashe. Celebrations occur in different places, often in the northern regions of Namibia, near important battle zones. Thousands of people gather to watch leaders such as Sam Nujoma, Hifikepunye Pohamba, and Nahas Angula bestow honors, such as military medals and officially commemorate veterans of SWAPO's military wing the People's Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN) for their heroic service during the war. A war memorial was established on Heroes' Day in 2002 outside of Windhoek, named Heroes' Acre.
*African Traditional Medicine Day
Celebrated August 31. After the adoption in 2000 of a resolution on promoting the role of traditional medicine in health systems by the regional health ministers in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, African Traditional Medicine Day was initiated in 2003 under the theme "Traditional Medicine: Our Culture, Our Future." African Traditional Medicine Day was designed to raise the awareness and the profile of traditional medicines of Africa as well as promote their integration into national, continental and diasporic health systems.
*Dia da Consciência Negra
Thankyou for reading our post. If you are aware of any other traditional Pan African Amen-days (holidays) please feel free to email us: firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will be happy to add these to our listings!
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