Image by Adam Anik
Kwanzaa begins at the end of December, meaning a time for family and community togetherness for many Black people throughout the United States.
Here’s what you need to know about the African American holiday:
Moreover, Kwanzaa was first established in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga, a professor of Black Studies, as a way to reconnect African Americans with their African heritage and cultural roots. When is Kwanzaa Celebrated? Kwanzaa is celebrated annually from December 26th to January 1st, with each day representing a different principle of African culture and community.
The Seven Principles of Kwanzaa Each of the seven days of Kwanzaa represents one of the seven principles, or Nguzo Saba, of African culture. These principles, based on traditional African values, serve as a guide for living a fulfilling and ethical life.
The seven principles of Kwanzaa are:
1. Umoja (Unity): To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.
2. Kujichagulia (Self-Determination): To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves.
3. Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility): To build and maintain our community together and make our brother’s and sister’s problems our problems, and to solve them together.
4. Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics): To build and maintain our own businesses, shops, and other enterprises and to profit from them together.
5. Nia (Purpose): To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
6. Kuumba (Creativity): To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.
7. Imani (Faith): To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.
How is Kwanzaa Celebrated? Kwanzaa is celebrated through a variety of rituals and customs, many of which are inspired by traditional African practices. These may include lighting a kinara (candle holder) with seven candles, decorating the home with African-inspired artwork and textiles, and exchanging gifts known as zawadi, which are often handcrafted and meaningful.
Feasts, called karamu, are also an important part of Kwanzaa celebrations, where families and communities come together to share traditional African dishes and reflect on the values and principles of the holiday.
Why is Kwanzaa Celebrated? Kwanzaa is celebrated as a way to honor and celebrate African American culture and history, as well as to reinforce the principles and values of African heritage. It is also seen as a way to promote unity, community building, and self-determination within the Black community.
In conclusion, overall, Kwanzaa serves as a reminder to African Americans of their strong cultural identity and the importance of coming together to celebrate and uplift one another. It is a time of reflection, celebration, and hope for a brighter future.