December 28, 2020

Recognized December 26 – January 1

Kwanzaa is an African-Americans celebration of life from 26 December to 1 January and based on seven principles which are represented by seven candles and Kiswahili words.

  • unity – umoja
  • self-determination – kujichagulia
  • collective work and responsibility – ujima
  • cooperative economics – ujamaa
  • purpose – nia
  • creativity – kuumba
  • faith – imani

Each family celebrates Kwanzaa in its own way, but celebrations often include songs and dances, African drums, storytelling, poetry reading, and a large traditional meal. Kwanzaa is not a religious holiday, but a cultural one with an inherent spiritual quality.

Dr. Maulana Karenga introduced the festival in 1966 to the United States as a ritual to welcome the first harvests to the home. Dr. Karenga created this festival for Afro-Americans as a response to the commercialism of Christmas. In fact one might say that Kwanzaa has similarities with Thanksgiving in the United States or the Yam Festival in Ghana and Nigeria. The word “kwanza” is a KiSwahili (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania) word meaning “first.”

Learn more about Kwanzaa at THIS LINK.

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