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Celebrating Kwanzaa


What is Kwanzaa?


Kwanzaa was founded in 1966 by Dr. Karenga who was a leading theorist of The Black Movement in the 1960’s. His writing credits are quite extensive and have appeared in many journals and anthologies. Kwanzaa’s birth stems from a cultural idea and an expression of the US organization which Brother Karenga headed. This new way of exploring self has blossomed into the only nationally celebrated, native, non-religious, non-heroic, non-political African-American holiday.


The name Kwanzaa is a Kiswahili word for "the first fruits of the harvest". Kiswahili was chosen because it is a non-tribal African language which encompasses a large portion of the African continent. As an added benefit its pronunciation is rather easy. Vowels are pronounced as they would be in Spanish and consonants, with few exceptions, as they are in English. For example: A=ah as in father; E=a as in day; I=ee as in free;O=oo as in too. One last note, the accent or stress is almost always on the next to last syllable. Source

Kwanzaa is a 7-day celebration that begins on Dec 26 until Jan 1
Each of the 7 days honors a particular principle.
Umoja: Unity. To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race
Kujichagulia: Self-Determination
Ujima: Collective Work and Responsibility
Ujamaa: Cooperative Economics
Nia: Purpose
Kuumba: Creativity
Imani: Faith

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