When is "Kwanzaa"?
It is observed from December 26 to January 1 each year.
Who celebrates this holiday?
Kwanzaa is a week-long holiday celebrated primarily in the United States and by African Americans and people of African descent around the world.
What does the name "Kwanzaa" mean?
The name Kwanzaa derives from the Swahili phrase "matunda ya kwanza", meaning "first fruits". The choice of Swahili, an East African language, reflects its status as a symbol of Pan-Africanism, especially in the 1960s.
How is this holiday celebrated?
Kwanzaa consists of seven days of celebration, featuring activities such as candle-lighting and pouring of libations, and culminating in a feast and gift giving.
Families celebrating Kwanzaa decorate their households with objects of art, colorful African cloth, especially the wearing of the Uwole by women, and fresh fruits that represent African idealism. It is customary to include children in Kwanzaa ceremonies and to give respect and gratitude to ancestors. Libations are shared, generally with a common chalice, "Kikombe cha Umoja" passed around to all celebrants.
A Kwanzaa ceremony may include drumming and musical selections, libations, a reading of the "African Pledge" and the Principles of Blackness, reflection on the Pan-African colors, a discussion of the African principle of the day or a chapter in African history, a candle-lighting ritual, artistic performance, and, finally, a feast (Karamu). The greeting for each day of Kwanzaa is "Habari Gani",which is Swahili for "What's the News?".
- Dashiki - A shirt or suit worn during Kwanzaa celebrations
- Kufi - A cap worn during Kwanzaa celebrations
- Kaftan (boubou) - A dress worn by women during Kwanzaa celebrations
What type of holiday is this?
This holiday falls in the category of:
• National Holiday • December observances • Secular holidays
• Winter holidays •
What is the Origin of this holiday?
It was created by Maulana Karenga and first celebrated from December 26, 1966, to January 1, 1967.
An African-American scholar and social activist, Karenga created Kwanzaa in 1966 as the only original African-American holiday. Karenga said his goal was to "...give a Black alternative to the existing holiday and give Blacks an opportunity to celebrate themselves and history, rather than simply imitate the practice of the dominant society."
Kwanzaa is a festivity that has its roots in the black nationalist movement of the 1960s, and was established as a means to help African Americans reconnect with their African cultural and historical heritage by uniting in meditation and study of "African traditions" and "common humanist principles."
First Kwanzaa Stamp
In 1997, the first Kwanzaa stamp was issued by the United States Postal Service on October 22 at the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles, California. In 2004 a second Kwanzaa stamp, created by artist Daniel Minter was issued which has seven figures in colorful robes symbolizing the seven principles.
The Seven Principles
Kwanzaa celebrates what its founder called "The Seven Principles of Kwanzaa", or Nguzo Saba (originally Nguzu Saba - "The Seven Principles of Blackness"), which Karenga said "is a communitarian African philosophy" consisting of what Karenga called "the best of African thought and practice in constant exchange with the world." These seven principles comprise Kawaida, a Swahili term for tradition and reason. Each of the seven days of Kwanzaa is dedicated to one of the following principles, as follows:
- Umoja (Unity) To strive for and to maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race.
- Kujichagulia (Self-Determination) To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves and speak for ourselves.
- Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility) To build and maintain our community together and make our brothers' and sisters' problems our problems and to solve them together.
- Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics) To build and maintain our own stores, shops and other businesses and to profit from them together.
- Nia (Purpose) To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
- Kuumba (Creativity) 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.
- Imani (Faith) To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.
How can I Celebrate this holiday?
- Blog with us about it! - We have a blog called "Everyday is a Holiday" so visit our pages and talk with us about this holiday.
- Send Free E-Greeting! - If your ready to get together with your friends don't forget to invite them with these fun Internet Invitations.
Other December Holidays around the world
December (listen) is the twelfth and last month of the year in the Gregorian Calendar and one of seven Gregorian months with the length of 31 days.
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