The history and principles of Kwanzaa

The history and principles of Kwanzaa

The history and principles of Kwanzaa

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Kwanzaa celebrates family, tradition, culture and honoring African Americans past.

Descendants of enslaved Africans are finding a way to trace and celebrate their roots.

During the era of slavery in the United States, millions of Africans were taken away from their homeland and ripped of their culture.

In 1966, Activist and educator Dr. Maulana Karenga came up with a plan to help black people celebrate, restore and reaffirm African culture.

Kwanzaa means “first fruits” in Swahili.

The holiday is a seven-day celebration that takes place from Dec. 26 through Jan. 1.

On each night of the holiday, families gather to light a candle on the Kinara.

Each candle celebrates one of the holiday’s seven principles also called Nguzu Saba.

The 7 principles are Kwanzaa are:

  • Umoja: Unity, meaning to strive for and maintain unity in family and community.
  • Kujichagulia: Self-Determination, meaning to define ourselves or name ourselves and speak for ourselves.
  • Ujima: Collective work and Responsibility, meaning to build and maintain our community together.
  • Ujamaa: Cooperative work and Economics, meaning to support Black businesses and build generational wealth.
  • Nia: Purpose, meaning to find purpose in oneself and on your journey.
  • Kuumba: Creativity, meaning to create as much as we can.
  • Imani – Faith, meaning to have faith in your creator and hope for a brighter future.

Exchanging gifts, an ear of corn to represent family and a woven mat are all customs of Kwanzaa.

During the holiday three colors are emphasized: Black represents African Americans, red represents the blood shed in the past and green is the color of hope for a brighter future.

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