Cool Citizens

Monday, December 29


What is it?
This celebration is not a festival originated in any of the 55 African countries nor is it an "African" Christmas celebration. Kwanzaa is an African Americans celebration of life from 26 December to 1 January.Maulana (Ron) Karenga is the creator of Kwanzaa.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 African 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".
The seven principles (nguzo saba) of Kwanzaa use Kiswahili words: unity (umoja), self-determination (kujichagulia), collective work and responsibility (ujima), cooperative economics (ujamaa), purpose (nia), creativity (kuumba), and faith (imani). Each of the seven candles signify the principles. Like the Jewish Hannakah, candles are used to represent concepts of the holiday.



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