Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Caribbean families embrace kwaanza as Christmas becomes too materialistic

20.12.2004


As Christmas becomes ever more materialistic, Caribbean families in Britain are increasingly turning to Kwaanza – a festival rooted in an African tradition - as the setting for their family celebrations, according to research sponsored by the ESRC.



Many will go to church on Christmas morning in what they see as part of their Caribbean tradition. But Kwaanza is now also widely celebrated by black people across the Caribbean, the UK and rest of Europe, usually alongside Christmas, or even as a reaction against it.

Research among second and third generation young people of Caribbean origin, found that the period between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day is an important family ritual, with an intense period of contact and catching up with far-flung relations.


Christmas is regarded as an important religious festival in the Caribbean, and the practice of church-going and collective worship still represents an important characteristic of its culture.

Many young people felt that whilst perhaps not practising their religion all the time, their families were more spiritual and church-oriented than the average British family. They spoke of traditions such as table-blessing on Christmas Day, and their father saying grace.

Kwaanza - celebrated from December 26 to January 1 - reaffirms the importance of family, community and culture among black people. Its role as a popular, spiritual and family-based celebration in a western industrialised context was begun in the United States by African-Americans.

The young people who identified Kwaanza as a time for family celebration expressed cynicism about the increased materialism and consumer culture of Christmas and the influence of European values and beliefs on its celebration. They spoke also of a wish to adhere to a spiritual and religious festival that expresses black unity and fellowship.

During Christmas, Caribbean young people in the UK use family relationships around the world in very particular ways to celebrate what they see as Caribbean cultural practices and ethnic traditions. And this reinforces their sense of belonging to their ethnic group.

Taking part in celebrations also enables them to be part of family networks dispersed around the globe.

Michael, 22, said: “No matter what’s going on, I always make sure I go home to Jamaica for Christmas. Usually about five or six of my 10 uncles and aunts go home. It’s a family tradition that we meet up at my parents’ house in Kingston and then travel down to my uncle in Montego Bay on Christmas Eve. Usually my uncle from Germany is there as well. Last Christmas, my aunt from New Zealand came. Some of my Dad’s aunties from the States were there, and three of his cousins and their kids, they all live in Canada. What we do when there is pretty much sit down and eat, drink and catch up with each other. Our family ‘get togethers’ are important. It keeps us emotionally close.”

Advances such as e-mail and the Instant Messenger service mean that physical separation no longer poses a problem in terms of the immediacy of contact between family members. And the relative ease and affordability of air travel mean that it is not too difficult for dispersed family members to come together in the Caribbean, so reinforcing ethnic, family and cultural ties to the region.

Becky Gammon | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esrc.ac.uk

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Fixating on faces
26.01.2017 | California Institute of Technology

nachricht Internet use in class tied to lower test scores
16.12.2016 | Michigan State University

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

Im Focus: Bacteria harness the lotus effect to protect themselves

Biofilms: Researchers find the causes of water-repelling properties

Dental plaque and the viscous brown slime in drainpipes are two familiar examples of bacterial biofilms. Removing such bacterial depositions from surfaces is...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

Innovation 4.0: Shaping a humane fourth industrial revolution

17.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Scientists propose synestia, a new type of planetary object

23.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Zap! Graphene is bad news for bacteria

23.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Medical gamma-ray camera is now palm-sized

23.05.2017 | Medical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>