Kwanzaa

What is Kwanzaa?

Kwanzaa is a week-long annual celebration of African-American culture that is held from December 26 to January 1. This celebration culminates in a communal feast called Karamu, usually held on the 6th day. Families and communities come together to celebrate, share a feast, to honor the ancestors, and affirm the bonds between them. Kwanzaa includes an acknowledgment and honoring its seven principles. Each day of Kwanzaa emphasizes a new principle with a candle-lighting ceremony that offers an opportunity to discuss the principle and its meaning. The first night the black candle in the center is lit and the principle of Umoja (Unity) is discussed. 

The Seven Principles

  1. Umoja (Unity): maintain unity as a family, community, nation, and race.
  2. Kujichagulia (Self-Determination): define, name, create, and speak for ourselves.
  3. Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility): build and maintain our community—solve problems together.
  4. Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics): build and maintain our stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.
  5. Nia (Purpose): work collectively to build communities that will restore the greatness of our people.
  6. Kuumba (Creativity): to find new, innovative ways to leave our communities in more beautiful and beneficial ways than we inherited it.
  7. Imani (Faith): the belief in God, family, heritage, leaders, and others that will leave to the victory of our struggle around the world.

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