:: Make Your Own Brer Rabbit Tradition

About Brer Rabbit Day:
Brer Rabbit Day is a fictional black holiday of mysterious origin. Some say, it began in the 1800’s when Afro-Americans would imitate Brer Rabbit’s trickster ways by designing activities to convince their friends and neighbors the holiday was real. The more people they convinced, the luckier the coming year would be!
.
Nowadays, Brer Rabbit Day is an opportunity to celebrate ways black families in the US and Caribbean have held on to pieces of their original African cultures, even through slavery. Brer Rabbit, Anansi, and similar trickster folktales are told in Africa, North America, and the Caribbean. By celebrating them and other pieces of African culture we’ve held onto, we honor the shared legacy of the black folks who used their trickster wisdom to overcome real life challenges, then and now.
.
.
.
.
How to Celebrate:
There are two ways:
1) If you are a black person who comes from a place where Brer Rabbit or Anansi stories are told (for example the USA, Jamaica, or Ghana), you can make up a Brer Rabbit Day tradition based on your memories of Brer Rabbit or Anansi stories. That’s right, it’s your own personal, customizable, black cultural holiday! Simply imagine what would happen on Brer Rabbit Day if it were a real holiday, then do one of those things.
.
2) If you don’t come from a place where these stories are told, you will need to find someone who does and ask to join their celebration. If they don’t have a tradition, tell them about Brer Rabbit Day and offer to support them if they make one up.
.
.
.
.
.
.
3 Tips to Remember:
Wherever your family is from, please be sure to follow these 3 guidelines:
.
1)Keep it PERSONAL – celebrate your family and your personal experiences. Nothing’s worse than hearing someone whose not from your family/city/country tell your history wrong, even when that person has good intentions. If you keep it personal, you don’t have to worry about misrepresenting someone else’s history. More importantly, you get to share just how awesome your family is and tell folks about the interesting things you’ve seen and done in your life.
.
2)Keep it FRUGAL or free – use things you find around the house or borrow. The less stuff you buy, the less likely we are to see “made in China” Brer Rabbit Day cards or awkward corporate sponsored public salutes that may corrupt the meaning of the holiday. It’s also a wonderful opportunity to exercise your creativity and to honor all those black folks before us who made a whole lot of something from little or nothing.
.
3)Keep it SILLY – It’s a holiday named after a trickster rabbit -if you’re not having fun, you’re doing it wrong! 🙂 Plus the more fun it is, the more likely younger generations in your family are to continue the tradition.
.
.
.
.
Benefits of Celebrating:
Making a holiday from scratch is a great way to think critically about holidays. This is especially important for Afro-Americans because we are in charge of shaping a relatively young culture. You probably don’t remember when Juneteenth or Black History Month (originally Black History Week) began, but they were both just ideas once. They didn’t become holidays because a big important person put them on the calendar or made a huge announcement. They became holidays because individual people, like you, decided to celebrate them.
.
More importantly, the inventors of these holidays have little to do with why or how we celebrate them now. We celebrate because people we respected told us to. We celebrate however they did. Celebrating a holiday is like voting for it to continue. Sharing your celebration with younger folks in your family or community plant seeds for how future generations will celebrate. That’s a lot of responsibility 😉  Never hurts to practice.
.
.
The 2013 Brer Rabbit Day Committee is sponsored in part by the Greater New York Arts Development Fund of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, administered by the Brooklyn Arts Council.
Advertisements