December 26, 2010

Kwanzaa Celebration

“Habari Gani” is the Swahili greeting of Kwanzaa. Kwanzaa was originated in 1966 by Maulana Ron Karenga. It is a non-religious holiday celebrated December 26th –January 1st by Black Ameri-cans. Kwanzaa is not a replacement of Christmas.The name Kwanzaa has been inspired by the Swahili phrase, “Matunda Ya Kwanxa” (meaning “first fruits”) suggesting the theme of givingthanks, inspired by African harvest time celebrations.The “Nguzo Saba” are the seven guiding principles follow during Kwanzaa. Each day is a principle designed for reflection, anticipation, planning and enjoyment, with hope for the future and reinforcement of mutual goals. A part of Kwanzaa includes a candle lighting ceremony. To bring a better understanding of “Nguzo Saba” (the Seven Principles), one candle is lit each day for seven consecutive days. The family, be it nuclear or extended, interprets the seven principles as both an extension and expansion of African heritage.

The Seven Principles are:

Dec.26: Umoja (Unity): to strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race (Getting together and sharing).
Dec.27: Kujichagulia (Self-determination): to define ourselves, name ourselves, created and spoken for by others (Freedom to define one’s goals).
Dec.28: Ujima (Collective work and Responsibility): to build and maintain our community together and to make our sister’s and our brother’s problems our problems and to solve them together (Accepting responsibility for past and future, good or bad).
Dec.29: Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics): To build and maintain our own stores, shops and other businesses and to profit from them together (Believing people come before profit; money is not the measure of all things; we must give thought to the needs of all people).
Dec.30: Nia (Purpose): To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness (we are social beings and we must work together in communities).
Dec.31: Kuumba (Creativity): To do always as much as we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it (We must enhance the world).
Jan 1: Imani (Faith): To believe with all our hearts in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders and the righteousness and victory of our struggle (Believing in your own strengths; respect and selectively honor our leaders).
Taken from: “Kwanzaa: A Celebration of Life” by Charlotte Lewis, 1982

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