For people who do not celebrate traditional American holidays and celebrations (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, etc.), it can be difficult to find good alternatives to help you stay culturally grounded. Fortunately for you, we have compiled a list of 10 celebrations, holidays, and festivals for African/indigenous people.
Feel free to share this list with friends and loved ones. This is not an attempt to make anyone stop believing, worshiping, or practicing what makes them feel whole; it is only an effort to educate people about other options. The black experience is diverse and multi-layed across various continents. It is important that we study and research our traditions in America and abroad.
Note: This list is not by any means a "complete" list. Feel free to add others you know about in the comments section.
Kwanzaa is a week-long celebration held in the United States and in other nations of the Western African diaspora in the Americas. The celebration honors African heritage in African-American culture, and is observed from December 26 to January 1, culminating in a feast and gift-giving. Kwanzaa has seven core principles (Nguzo Saba). It was created by Maulana Karenga, and was first celebrated in 1966–67.
Indigenous Peoples' Day
Indigenous Peoples' Day (also known as Native American Day) is a holiday celebrated in various localities in the United States. It began as a counter-celebration to Columbus Day, promoting Native American culture and commemorating the history of Native American peoples. The celebration began in Berkeley, California, through the International Indian Treaty Council, and Denver, Colorado, as a protest against Columbus Day, which is listed as a federal holiday in the United States, but is not observed as a state holiday in every state. Indigenous Peoples' Day is usually held on the second Monday of October, coinciding with the federal observance of Columbus Day.
Black Love Day
BLACK LOVE DAY (BLD), celebrated February 13th, is the 3rd nationally, observed African American holiday (wholyday) of atonement, reconciliation, celebration and 24 hour demonstration of Black love, showing 5 Tenets (specific acts)– towards the Creator, for Self, for the Family, within the Black Community and for the Black Race.
African Countries’ Independence Day
Various African countries have Independence Day celebrations. With a quick Google search, you can find out more information about these important days. We know our brothers and sisters on the continent are not completely free of neocolonialist powers, but we still acknowledge the courage of our ancestors to physically overthrow longstanding European oppressors.
Started by the Black Running Organization of Baltimore, Dashiki Friday encourages black people to wear authentic dashikis and engage in social activities that support black-owned businesses. Dashiki Friday can be celebrated every Friday of the year. Participants are encouraged to use #DashikiFriday when posting pictures on social media.
Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. Join Yard Sign Campaign. From its Galveston, Texas origin in 1865, the observance of June 19th as the African American Emancipation Day has spread across the United States and beyond.
Black History Month
Black History Month, or National African American History Month, is an annual celebration of achievements by black Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of African Americans in U.S. history. The event grew out of “Negro History Week,” the brainchild of noted historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans. Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month. Other countries around the world, including Canada and the United Kingdom, also devote a month to celebrating black history.
The Tjungu Festival is celebrated April 22-25 in Australia. Tjungu, (pronounced tjoo-ngoo), means meeting together in local Anangu language and celebrates the best of Australian Indigenous culture. Yearly events include everything from culture to film and art, from sport to music, food and fashion.
On August 20th, all Orisha People in Nigeria and around the world celebrate Isese Day, also known as the Day of Tradition. All Babalawo’s and everyone who practices the tradition way of life practice worship and venerate on this day.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (officially Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.) is an American federal holiday marking the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. It is observed on the third Monday of January each year, which is around King's birthday, January 15.