Since we’ve posted information about Christmas and Hanukkah, I thought I’d post a brief history of Kwanzaa as well.
Kwanzaa is celebrated from December 26th (today) till January 1st and is a holiday for honoring family, communities and African Culture. The name Kwanzaa is derived from the phrase “matunda ya kwanza” which means “first fruits” in Swahili, a Pan-African language which is the most widely spoken African language. It was created in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga, a professor in the department of black studies at California State University at Long Beach. This celebration is held for seven days, one day for each of the below principles.
Day One: UMOJA (Unity)
This principle promotes togetherness among families, communities and races.
Day Two: KUJICHAGULIA (Self-determination)
This day is about creating and living with each others’ unique identities.
Day Three: UJIMA (Collective work and Responsibility)
On the third day, those who celebrate Kwanzaa encourage each other to embrace individual problems as issues that the community can solve.
Day Four: UJAMAA (Cooperative economics)
Ujamaa promotes entrepreneurship that will benefit the community.
Day Five: NIA (Purpose)
People strive to improve the community with their vocational skills.
Day Six: KUUMBA (Creativity)
Kuumba is closely related to Nia. Kwanzaa stresses any creative work that will make the community a better place for present and future generations.
Day Seven: IMANI (Faith)
The last night of Kwanzaa encourages people to believe in each other and the victories won by their ancestors.
Kwanzaa isn’t a religious holiday, so it is not uncommon for a family to celebrate both Christmas and Kwanzaa.
Do you or somebody you know celebrate Kwanzaa? Tell us a little bit about your traditions?