Black Love Day: Embracing Everything Black Ahead Of Valentine's Day

Photo: Getty Images

Nothing like a day dedicated to celebrating Black love!

Black Love Day falls on February 13 every year since it was founded in 1993. This spiritual holiday is rooted in African cultures and ideas, and the aim is to complete the five Tenets: to practice love toward "the Creator, for Self, for the Family, within the Black Community and for the Black Race" for 24 hours, according to the African American Registry.

“We encourage people on this day to do something very simple—just demonstrate love for 24 hours, and celebrate and atone, offer forgiveness to ourselves and to others, and to accept the very important tenets,” Ayo Handy-Kendi, the founder and director of the African American Holiday Association (AAHA), told the DailyDot.

Photo: Getty Images

Participants also say the greeting "Nya Akoma," which means "get a heart, be patient, return to love." You can also display the Akoma, an Adinkra symbol representing love, patience, goodwill, faithfulness and endurance.

What does celebrating Black Love Day look like? It can take many forms. The AAHA website suggests participating in Black community activities, supporting Black-owned businesses, reflection and other actions. Sometimes it can be as simple as hanging out with friends and posting on social media about your appreciation and love for Black culture.

Black Love Day isn't exclusive to Black people, either. People of other races can participate, as well, by putting their "love into action," meaning they work on their behavior and racial attitudes toward Black people. That can include conversations, introspection, or supporting Black people in any way they can.

While practicing the tenets is a mainstay tradition, the holiday itself is different every year. There's a theme that changes annually for Black Love Day. In 2020, it was "Reparations 2 Repair 2 Reconcile 2 Restore the LOVE." In 2021, the theme was "Healing the Wounds That Divide - Re-uniting Our Strengths Thru Black Love."

"2020 exposed a reckoning over hot issues like health equity, racial justice, economic equality, policing, politics, education, competition for limited resources and just 'living while black,'" Handy-Kendy said in a press release. "Insane polarization, fighting, killing over survival ideologies sprawled into our streets and even into the Nations’ Capitol. The 28th Black Love Day will share hope, strengthen Black people’s resilience that Black Lives Matter, and fortify our 'unity in our diversity.'"

“Love is a spiritual link that connects tolerance with compassion, so we don’t hurt another to love ourselves or hate because of differences," Handy-Kendi said. "On Feb. 13, come together to breathe in love, reconcile, and bond around solutions to become whole, powerful people again by healing all our relationships”.

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