Starting yesterday and over seven days, many people throughout the world will celebrate Kwanzaa. Based on seven principles, the Nguzo Saba, Kwanzaa is designed to strengthen the black family, thus strengthening the community.
Kwanzaa is a unique African-American celebration with focus on the traditional African values of family, community responsibility, commerce, and self-improvement. Kwanzaa is neither political nor religious and despite some misconceptions, is not a substitute for Christmas. It is simply a time of reaffirming African-American people, their ancestors and culture. Kwanzaa, which means "first fruits of the harvest" in the African language Kiswahili, has gained tremendous acceptance. Since its founding in 1966, Kwanzaa has come to be observed by more than18 million people worldwide, as reported by the New York Times.
There are seven candles in the kinara: 3 red, 1 black and 3 green. Starting with the black candle in the center and alternating red and green, each day, starting on December 26, a candle is lit and at a gathering of family and friends, a principle is discussed.
(The Seven Principles)
To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race.
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 brother's and sister's 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.
To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
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.
Kwanzaa is not just a seven-day celebration but a way of life. Life and practice the seven principles throughout the year to strengthen ourselves, our family and our community. Harambee'!