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g African American Culture Site

BellaOnline's African American Culture Editor

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The Reason We Celebrate


I cannot begin to tell you how much I enjoy the Holidays! But more so, it is the coming together of families and friends that excites me the most.

I heard a statement once: Black people love a good party. I didn't take offense. And neither should you. Why shouldn't we love a good party? A celebration? We have a lot to be grateful for. God has done some phenomenal things in our life; within our culture. And continues to do so.

We have been through hell and back, and through some more hell again. African Americans have been faced with more adversity than the law should allow. But here we stand: strong, capable, and with the wisdom and strength to move forward.

We are innovative, determined, and have the ability to rise from the ashes time and time again. And I know for certain, it is the grace of God that allows us to do such.

This is why I especially enjoy the holidays that are in celebration of the spiritual; the celebration of the gifts of God.

As a little girl, I loved the Easter Celebration. I loved Palm Sunday, going to church and getting the palms. I loved the family coming together and the food and fanfare that went on. The traditions in my family are ones that I hold dear and continue to practice today with my own nucleus.

Although, as a child my sense of celebration was focused upon the fanfare and the grand celebration that ensued; I did not yet comprehend the meaning for the celebration. Why we truly received the palms after Sunday service. Why the focus was on the Cross and not the pagan Easter bunny. But as I grew in age and in wisdom; the truth only endeared the tradition even the more in my heart and soul.

Not only did I understand our Easter traditions; but I understood why my Gram and great Grandmother went out of their way to make such a huge fanfare with their family and friends. They were showing their gratitude and thanksgiving for all that God had done; especially for their Black family and Black community.

Through suffering, we in the Black community, have learned to come together and stand as one. We learned that it is through our coming together, and looking out for one another in our communities, that we could make it to the next day better than we could alone. What's that saying? A hand has five fingers. Separately, we can fan out. But together, we can form a fist and strike a powerful blow.

These are the life lessons and traditions that we have been sorely missing in the generations that walk this earth now. Many have no sense of community, and tradition, and the reason why we continue to do the things we do, and celebrate the way we celebrate. Where are the teachers of these life lessons? We need them more than ever in the present times we are living in.

When I look back over the celebrations I experienced as a child; my adult self can see what was all around me. In those times of celebrations, I see more than just my immediate family. I see neighbors and distant relatives, and people we called family, but were just long time friends from the community.

At these celebrations were people from all walks of life, sharing a hot meal, familial love, community love. It was a time of celebration and coming together, and a time to remember the struggles and to give thanks for God and His provision. Not only for our physical bodies, but also for our souls; our spirits.

We understood, and learned through our commitment and sharing with one another, the meaning of the Cross. As children, we were not only told the story of the Cross—we were taught it through the actions of our parents, grandparents and great grandparents.

The traditions; the celebrations were more than just a time to party. No. It was a time to put into action the lessons that were being passed down through the years and generations. The Bible was coming alive. It was no longer just a book with words; but it became flesh and blood just as Christ did. Sunday School lessons became real and alive and tangible. I now understood the lessons that were spoken; because my family lived them out in the flesh.

Yes. I love a good party. I love to get together and celebrate. I love to put into action what I have learned and to become all that God has called me to be. Each day we are given an opportunity to be more than we were yesterday. We are given the opportunity to turn our celebrations into life lessons, and teach our children the true meaning of life and why we are here.

Celebrate who you are. Enjoy the life that has been given to you. Just don't forget how and why you got there, and why you are able to celebrate. Pass the lessons along. Open your heart and soul to those around you. Learn to come together and share in the blessings of God that He has bestowed upon you. Everything given is not meant for us to hoard; but for us to share.

Happy Easter from my family to yours!

Don't forget to click on the links below for recipe ideas for your Easter Celebration
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Easter Traditions
Easter Memories
Celebrating Easter
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Content copyright © 2014 by Ruthe McDonald. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Ruthe McDonald. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Ruthe McDonald for details.

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