Kwanzaa Etiquette

 "The seven principles of Kwanzaa -- unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith -- teach us that when we come together to strengthen our families and communities and honor the lesson of the past, we can face the future with joy and optimism." ~ President Bill Clinton

Out of the turbulent 1960s and the ashes of conflict emerged the celebration of Kwanzaa. The brainchild of activist Maulana Karenga, Kwanzaa was established in 1966 to heal, unify and revolutionize the Black community in the wake of the Watts Riot in 1965. The focus of the holiday is the celebration of African-American cultural roots, focusing in large part on the African Continent's agricultural history. The name Kwanzaa is drawn from the Swahili phrase, “matunda ya kwanza,” which means "first fruits of the harvest." Kwanzaa is celebrated during the last week of the year, beginning on December 26 and ending on January 1.

Job Search Series – Nailing the Interview – Part 10 – The Interview Lunch

The Luncheon Interview


 “The world was my oyster but I used the wrong fork.” 
~Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde's quotation is a metaphor for the choices he made. Its meaning for you is although you've made it this far, all can be forfeited if you fail the final test that many employers require: a demonstration of your table manners. Many positions require attendance at meetings and events that involve dining; exhibiting top-notch table manners proves that you can be trusted to represent the company well. In a close race, the smallest details can reveal the victor.

Job Search Series – Nailing the Interview – Part 1 – Types of Interviews

Types of Interviews

“Besides getting several paper cuts in the same day or receiving the news that someone in your family has betrayed you to your enemies, one of the most unpleasant experiences in life is a job interview.” ~Lemony Snicket

It is my hope that Mr. Snicket will read the next few blog posts along with you so that he, too, might gain some snippets of advice that will help smooth the way to the job interview process. 

Let's start by taking a look at the various types of interviews you can expect to come across: 

Job Search Series – Going For The Gold

"Not that you root for failure," Vasgersian said,
 "but he needs one more crash to guarantee a spot in the next round."
 ~ NBC 2014 Winter Olympics Announcer Matt Vasgersian   

The above-captioned statement was uttered during the men’s freestyle aerial ski jumps last week in Sochi during the play-by-play commentary. The speculation was that for American Mac Bohonnon to qualify for the finals one of his competitors would have to make a mistake, thereby making Mr. Bohonnon’s point score sufficient. No sooner were these words spoken when Renato Ulrich of Switzerland took his turn at the aerials and crashed. 

Dining Etiquette Series – Saying Grace Before Dinner

“In some families and at some events it’s customary to say a blessing or prayer before the meal begins. If that’s not your custom and you’re a guest, just sit quietly until the blessing is finished. If asked, do join hands around the table—doing so will complete the circle.”
~ Emily Post’s Etiquette, 18th Edition, Manners For A New World

In the U.S., the freedoms of religion, speech and assembly are held in very high esteem. But, along with freedom should come civility. That means that we should not only respect the rights, beliefs and customs of others, we should also extend courtesy, consideration and understanding when we or when others exercise those rights, express those beliefs and celebrate those customs. In each the following dining scenarios, consider the response that you believe would be most appropriate: 

The Skillful Dinner Conversationalist

That which chiefly causes the failure of a dinner-party,
 is the running short—not of meat, nor yet of drink, but of conversation.
 ~ Lewis Carroll

There are many components to a successful dinner party – a welcoming invitation, warm and friendly hosts, engaging guests, delicious food served elegantly, and a beautiful and inviting dinner table. Those are the elements that will draw guests to a gathering. But, the dynamic that sets the occasion afire and keeps people talking about it long afterward is the conversation, good or bad.

Dining Etiquette Series – The Formal Dinner Party Menu

There was no food as yet on the glittering golden plates, but small menus were lying in front of each of them. Harry picked his up uncertainly and looked around—there were no waiters. Dumbledore, however, looked carefully down at his own menu, then said very clearly to his plate, “Pork chops!” And pork chops appeared.” ~ Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire

We might not be able to summon our courses directly from the menu card the way the Harry Potter crowd did, but all the same there is a magical atmosphere that surrounds a formal dinner party. 

Dining Etiquette Series -The Hostess Gift

It’s not the gift, but the thought that counts.
 ~ Henry Van Dyke, American Author & Poet (1852-1933)

Bringing a gift to the host or hostess when you are invited to dinner -- from a formal affair to a casual pot-luck and everything in between -- is a time-honored custom intended to show a guest’s appreciation to the hostess for the invitation. Although this type of gift is called a “hostess gift,” it’s obviously intended for both genders. A hostess gift can be generic, such as a bottle of wine or candy, or tailored to the taste and personality of the host. But, be sure to consider any allergies, preferences, religious beliefs or ethnic customs.