buju
01 Jan 1970 |

Kwanzaa

black black

 

KWANZAA

By   RAS   ABIMELECH

 

The history of kwanzaa

A non religious holiday, kwanza celebrates African American heritage, pride community, family and culture. The seven day  festival starts the day after Christmas ( ie 26th December) and finishes on New year’s day (1st of January). Inspired by the civil rights struggles of the 1960’s and based on ancient African celebrations. Kwanzaa has become very popular over the last 25 years. More than 20 million people celebrate in the United States, Canada, England and the Carribean . ( I am not sure if the African countries have accepted this black American concept.)

Kwanzaa’s roots lie in African first fruits harvest celebrations, from which it takes it name. The word Kwanzaa is derived from the Swahili phrase ” matunda ya kwanza ” which means  “first fruits” . Kwanzaa is organized around  fundamental activities common to African first fruits celebrations .

  • the ingathering of family, friends, and community;
  • reverence for the creator and creation ( including thanksgiving and recommitment to respect the environment and heal the world);
  • remembering the past ( honouring ancestors, learning lessons and emulating achievements of African history);
  •  recommitment to the highest cultural ideals of the African community ( for example, truth, justice and respect for people and nature.);
  • celebration of the “good of life” (for example, life, struggle, achievement, family, community, and culture.)

The seven principles, or Nguzo Saba are a set of ideals created by Dr. Maulana Karenga. Each day of Kwanzaa emphasizes a different principle.

Dr Maulana Karenga, professor and chairman of Black Studies at California State University, Long Beach, created Kwanzaa in 1966. After the Watts riots in Los Angeles, Dr. Karenga searched for ways to bring African-Americans together as a community. He founded US, a cultural organization, and started to research African first fruit (harvest) celebrations. Karenga combined aspects of several different harvest celebrations, such as those of the Ashanti and those of the Zulu, to form the basis of Kwanzaa.

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.

On each of the seven nights, the family gathers and a child lights one of the candles on the Kinara (candleholder), then one of the seven principles is discussed.
The principles, called the Nguzo Saba (seven principles in Swahili) are values of African culture which contribute to building and reinforcing community among African-Americans. Kwanzaa also has seven basic symbols which represent values and concepts reflective of African culture. An African feast, called a Karamu, is held on December 31.
Seven Principles
The seven principles, or Nguzo Saba are a set of ideals created by Dr. Maulana Karenga. Each day of Kwanzaa emphasizes a different principle.

1. Unity : Umoja

To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.

2. Self-determination :  Kujichagulia

To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves.

3. Collective Work and Responsibility :  Ujima

To build and maintain our community together and make our brothers and sisters problems our problems and to solve them together.

4. Cooperative Economics : Ujamaa

To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.

5. Purpose : Nia

To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.

6. Creativity : Kuumba

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. Faith : Imani

To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.
Seven Symbols
The seven principles, or Nguzo Saba are a set of ideals created by Dr. Maulana Karenga. Each day of Kwanzaa emphasizes a different principle.

.play kwanzaa
play KWANZAA & THE SEVEN PRINCIPLES

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