Monday, August 10, 2020

Not a Birthday, But a Bornday: A New Afrikan Perspective

 by Kenny Anderson

In traditional African Akan’ culture each child is given a name corresponding to the day of the week upon which they were born. This name 'akradin' gives their life purposeful meaning and signifies their ongoing connection to the spiritual world ‘Nyame' (God), to the physical world ‘Obosom' (Nature), and to the 'Nsamanfo' (Ancestors).
In Eurocentric culture the focus of a person’s birthday is the ‘date’ of birth instead of the ‘day’ of birth; the day you were born on never changes, yearly the date of your birth will fall on any day including days you were not actually born on. Though my birthdate is today August 5th, however the actual day I was born on - my ‘birthday’ is Monday.
Though I acknowledge my yearly birthdate, I actually celebrate my ‘born-day’ weekly on Monday by designating this day as a time of being very-very grateful for LIFE ‘AKH’, of deep REMEMBRANCE and REFLECTIONS of Life’s-Lessons.
Personally as far as my New Afrikan spiritual-cultural practice I’ve renamed the Eurocentric names of the week that are meaningless and replaced them with the meaningful names of the 7 Principles of Kwanza ‘Nguzo Saba’ that are observed every day ‘365’:
*1st Day of the week is ‘Umoja’ Unity (Monday)
*2nd Day of the week is ‘Kujichagulia’ Self-Determination (Tuesday)
*3rd Day of the week is ‘Ujimma’ Collective Work & Responsibility (Wednesday)
*4th Day of the week is ‘Ujamma’ Cooperative Economics (Thursday)
*5th Day of the week is ‘Nia’ Purpose (Friday)
*6th Day of the week is ‘Kuumba’ Creativity (Saturday)
*7th Day of the week is ‘Imani’ Faith (Sunday)
Thus my weekly Born-Day of Umoja (Monday) celebration includes reflecting on its principle: To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race." For me internally Umoja means striving to maintain Unity in my words and deeds having ‘Integrity’!
Moreover I incorporate the traditional Akan name for Monday ‘Dwoda’ which means a quiet peaceful day of calm along with its ‘Adinkra’ symbol the Heart ‘Akoma’ that represents love, unity, endurance, patience, tolerance, goodwill, and faithfulness; meditating on heart qualities (caring, forgiveness, bravery); being heartfelt.
My New Afrikan integrative approach in celebrating my born-day was inspired by Brother Malcolm X who said we must engage in an ongoing cultural-revolution remarking: “We must integrate the best of our cultural past with the best of our present culture.”
I hope this post was insightful to Brothas and Sistas who can incorporate its contents into deepening and expanding their sense of a birthday in our continuing process of the struggle for cultural-reclamation ‘Sankofa’ and cultural-development.

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