A celebration of African heritage and principles. It occurs Dec. 26 through Jan. 1. It grew out of the Black Nationalist Movement in the mid 1960s. Kwanzaa was created by Dr. Maulana Karenga, chairman of Black Studies at California State University. From the Swahili phrase “first fruits of the harvest,” Kwanzaa celebrates seven principles, which are also identified in the East African language. They are:

  • umoja (unity)
  • kujichagulia (self-determination)
  • ujima (collective responsibility)
  • ujamaa (cooperative economics)
  • nia (purpose)
  • kuumba (creativity)
  • imani  (faith)

Kwanzaa also has seven symbols. They are fruits, vegetables or nuts; a mat; a candleholder; seven candles (three red, three green and one black); corn; gifts and a communal cup signifying unity. Kwanzaa was intended to be independent of religion, though some families celebrate Kwanzaa with religious holidays.

For more information about the holiday, see The Official Kwanzaa Web Site. Print



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