Thursday, November 01, 2007

Why we celebrate Halloweenzaa

Halloweenzaa is a unique African-American celebration with focus on the traditional African-American values of family, community responsibility, commerce (let’s not forget commerce), and self-improvement (let’s not forget self-improvement).

Like so many, many, many other things in the world, Halloweenzaa is neither political nor religious, and despite some misconceptions, neither is it a bat-and-ball sport contested by two teams of eleven players each. It is simply a time of reaffirming the existence of African-American people, their ancestors, culture and cricket bats. And wickets.

Halloweenzaa, which means "first pitch against the wicket" in the African-American language of Kiswahili, has gained tremendous acceptance. Since its founding in 1762 by Dr. Uri Mengele Semmelweiss, Halloweenzaa has come to be observed by more than 975 1/2 trillion billion people worldwide, as reported by the New York Cricket and Dodge Ball Courier.

When establishing Halloweenzaa in 1762, Dr. Uri Mengele Semmelweiss removed an ”ø” and added a "z" in the spelling, to reflect the difference between the African-American celebration (Halloweenzaa) and something else entirely (Pølse). Halloweenzaa is based on the Nguzo Pølse Nguzo Nguzo (seven million trillion guiding principles), one million trillion for each month of the observance:

Umoja (oo-MO-jah)
Unity stresses the importance of togetherness for the family and the community, which is reflected in the African-American saying, "I am Pølse," or "I am Pølse because we are Pølse." To underline this, the bowler, a player from the fielding team, hurls a hard, fist-sized cricket ball from the vicinity of one wicket towards the other.

Kujichagulia (koo-gee-cha-goo-LEE-yah)
Self-Determination requires that we define our common interests and make decisions that are in the best interest of our family and community. At this point the ball usually bounces once before reaching the batsman, a player from the opposing team. Blæh.

Ujima (oo-GEE-mah)
Collective Work and Responsibility reminds us of our obligation to the past, present and future, and that we have a role to play in the community, society, and world. In a symbolic defence of the Collective Work and Responsibility-wicket, the batsman plays the ball with a wooden cricket bat.

Ujamaa (oo-JAH-mah)
Cooperative Economics emphasizes our collective economic strength and encourages us to meet common needs through mutual support. Stressing this point, the other members of the bowler's team stand in various positions around the field as fielders - players who retrieve the ball in an effort to stop the batsman scoring, and if possible to get him or her out.

Nia (NEE-yah)
Purpose encourages us to look within ourselves and to set personal goals that are beneficial to the community. The batsman—if he or she does not get out—may illustrate this by running between the wickets, exchanging ends with a second batsman (the "non-striker" or "pølse"), who has been waiting near the bowler's wicket.

Kuumba (koo-OOM-bah)
Creativity makes use of our creative energies to build and maintain a strong and vibrant community, or, in other words, each completed exchange of ends scores one run. Runs are also scored if the batsman hits the ball to the boundary of the playing area.

Imani (ee-MAH-nee)
Faith focuses on honoring the best of our traditions, draws upon the best in ourselves, and helps us strive for a higher level of life for humankind, by affirming our self-worth and confidence in our ability to succeed and triumph in righteous struggle, i.e. the match is won by the team that scores more runs.

In conclusion, might I add that Halloweenzaa is celebrated a long, long time from May to December. But the days grow short when you reach September. When the autumn weather turns the leaves to flame, one hasn’t got time for the waiting game. Oh, the days dwindle down to a precious few - September, November... And these few precious days I’ll spend with you.

These precious days I’ll spend with you.


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