Joyous Kwanzaa!

Kwanzaa will be celebrated from 26 December to 1 January in the United States and in other nations of the West African diaspora in the Americans. Kwanzaa is celebrated to honor African heritage in African-American culture. Maulana Karenga, an African-American professor and a major figure in the Black Power movements of the 1960s and 1970s, created Kwanzaa in 1966.

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Kwanzaa has seven core principles or Nguzo Saba, which are Umoja or unity, Kujichagulia or self-determination, Ujima or collective work and responsibility, Ujamaa or cooperative economics, Nia or purpose, Kuumba or creativity, and Imani or Faith. Each of the seven days of Kwanzaa is dedicated to each principle. Red, green and black are the symbolic color of Kwanzaa.

Kwanzaa will be celebrated by the lighting of Kinara or a candle holder, which is usually placed on a Mkeka or mat. Mishumaa Saba or seven candles will be placed in the Kinara, three red on the left, three green on the right, and a single black candle in the center. Each candle will be lit for each day of Kwanzaa, starting with the black candle in the middle then proceeds from left to right.

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During Kwanzaa celebration, houses will be decorated with Kwanzaa celebratory symbols, among them are mazao or crops, Muhindi or corn, Kikombe cha Umoja or unity cups, and Zawadi or gifts. People celebrating Kwanzaa will wear kente or colorful African cloths, and the women will wear kaftans. They will attend the Kwanzaa ceremony, usually consisting of drumming and musical selections, artistic performance, libations, a reading of the African Pledge and the Principles of Blackness, and will be closed with a karamu or feast.

If you do not celebrate Kwanzaa but know someone who celebrates it, you could still share the spirit by asking them how they implement Nguzo Saba in their daily life. That way, you will gain another insight into their life! Or if you are in the United States, you could attend the Spirit of Kwanzaa, an annual Kwanzaa celebration held at John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

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What about you? Tell us your favorite Kwanzaa activity, or share your most memorable Kwanzaa celebration!

Joyous Kwanzaa!



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