Updated: Feb 9, 2021
If you have never heard of Black Love Day, then this post is definitely for you! Before I get into the nitty-gritty about this beloved holiday, let's do a reflection on the importance of celebrations and their impact on the descendants of Africans living in America.
There is an expressed need for community among those who identify as African-American. Our culture is a culmination of shared experiences specific to the Black existence here in America. Look around: injustices surround us on every side, yet we are divided on many issues that will impact our children and their children and their children. Our COMMON UNITY has become lost. Our village has been fractured into tiny sects. The decision to make personal sacrifices for the greater good of the group is unconscionable to most. Social conditioning has positioned us to be "down for the struggle" until the next distraction which impedes our progress as ONE PEOPLE.
Will we ever agree on everything? I highly doubt it. As we remain on that line of thinking, herein lies the importance of African-American Holidays. It is during these festivals, celebrations, and ceremonies we preserve our history, customs, traditions, and symbols with dignity. How easy is it to forget what was taken from us.
"Nya Akoma" (pronounced N-yah Ah-coma) means get a heart, be patient. The Akoma is an ancient African Symbol, NOT a Valentine.
It is on these historical and contemporary African-American holidays—ranging from slave observances to Kwanzaa, we use 24 hours to acknowledge noteworthy individuals who paved a way for us today and our traditions. On these designated days, we examine historical events, cultural heritage, and religious beliefs ranging from various ideologies and African-based faiths.
There are 100's of African American Holidays (wholy-days). This is a short list of African-American Holidays as well as a how-to for those interested in observing Black Love Day today and every day:
... just to name a few.
It is my hope, by putting emphasis on Black Love Day we become more diligent in our annual rituals; that we invest as much, if not more, time and money into holidays that specifically reflect Black culture. But how do we do that? Surely, traditional public school and the federal government is not carving out the time to teach our heritage. The responsibility falls on us to honor our ancestors.
Taken from The Black Love Book compiled, edited, and written by Ayo Handy-Kendi, creator of Black Love Day, here are a few ways to celebrate every February 13th:
Begin with the 5 tenets of Black Love Day: Love towards the Creator, towards self, towards family, showing love within the Black community, and love for the Black race. The book also gives step-by-step instruction on how to conduct a Black Love Relationship Ceremony - a spiritual occasion practiced with an outpouring of prayer and re-commitment to the values of love.
Spend the day being in a state of gratitude and appreciation - have an honorable reverence for how far we have come as a people, acknowledge how far we have to go.
Being in a state for forgiveness - cast down any self-image that is a mirror of past mistakes; give others a second chance.
It's early enough in the year to reignite those New Year's resolutions you already failed to keep.
Speak kind words to your partner, your family members, those closest to you - look for ways to give praise.
Do a family project together - volunteer at a local shelter, plan a spring garden, play hooky from school and work to love on each other.
Be romantic - take a bath with your spouse or romantic partner, candle-light meals still work, or send an old fashioned love letter.
Avoid negative people, news, reports. Trump who?
Have meetings seeking re-conciliation for with whom you are in fractured relationship.
Support a Black Owned Business listed in the Ultimate Black Love Gift Guide! It's a coupon book and each discount is good for 1 year!!
Bonus: People who do not identify as Black/African American can celebrate Black Love Day as well. On Black Love Day, those who do not share the Black existence have an intentional opportunity to spent more time finding their soul and their conscious, rather than argue or investigate why Black people are in pain. Well-meaning, anti-racist non-black community members can use this day to share messages of equality, equity, inclusion, diversity, and social justice for under-represented, oppressed, marginalized Black and Brown people. The state of this world has not only come about due to race issues alone, but of moral issues also.
If you are in the habit of celebrating African-American Holidays, share below which ones! I want to hear from you.