African American Gifting Culture
African American celebrations and festivals emphasize their enslavement and liberation and also their unique culture and assimilation into mainstream society.
Juneteenth (June 19th) is the oldest emancipation celebration in African American culture. This dates back to June 19th, 1865 when General Gordon Granger in Gaveston, Texas proclaimed that enslaved African Americans were free. For the African American community it is a time for praying and for gathering family members.
Festivities that publicly continue today are rodeos, fishing, barbecuing and baseball. Strawberry Soda pop and barbecue pits are synonymous with Juneteenth.
Black History Month
Black History Month celebration is due to campaign of Dr. Carter G. Woodson, an African American educator and historian tried to encourage journals, black newspapers and schools to celebrate 'Negro History Week' in February.
It was turned into 'Black History Month' in 1976 to celebrate the accomplishments of African Americans peoples and celebration on their culture and their contribution to the American Society.
African American heritage products such as woven textiles, home décor items and memorabilia are gifted or brought on this cultural occasion as celebration.
Kwanzaa celebration begins on Dec 26 through January 1 and is celebrated by African Americans of all religions and faith. It was conceived and developed by Dr. Maulana Ron Karenga and was first celebrated on December 26, 1966. Rooted in Swahili phrase 'matunda ya kwanza', it is a first harvest celebration practiced in Africa. Kwanzaa celebrations include Swahili greetings, prayer and song, the seven principles 'Nguzo Saba' as the focus.
Decorations consist of seven basic symbols including a hand carved wooden candleholder (Kinara) with one black, three red and three green candles, which are also the colors of Kwanzaa. Kinara makes a good gift too.
Gift is mostly given to children but must include a book and a heritage symbol of African American culture. Handmade items with African American significance such as dolls and figurines are highly appropriate gifts.
Martin Luther King Day
The Martin Luther King Day is observed on third Monday of January each year to honor Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It is the only federal holiday commemorating any African American. Events are held in remembrance of the values propagated by this famous African American and gifts are given in form of CDs, books about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr and his famous speeches.