What Is Kwanzaa?page 1 / 2
What Is Kwanzaa?
A Brief History
Kwanzaa is an African-American and Pan-African cultural holiday that celebrates family, community and culture. Kwanzaa is the world's fastest growing holiday and is celebrated annually from December 26-January 1 by over 20 million people worldwide.
The name, Kwanzaa, comes from the Swahili phrase “matunda ya kwanza”, which means “first fruits” and was inspired by traditional African harvest, or “first fruit” celebrations.
Kwanzaa was the vision of one man, Dr. Maulana Karenga, who founded and celebrated the first Kwanzaa on December 27, 1966 during the Black Freedom Movement to reaffirm and restore African-American connection to African culture, to provide a communal celebration that would strengthen the bonds among African-Americans and African people as a whole, and to introduce and celebrate the Nguzo Saba, or the Seven Principles.
The Seven Principles of Kwanzaa
Kwanzaa is centered around the Seven Principles, also called Nguzo Saba in Swahili.
• Umoja (Unity)
Umoja (OO-MO-JAH). To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race.
• Kujichagulia (Self-Determination)
Kujichagulia (KOO-GEE-CHA-GOO-LEE-YAH) To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves and speak for ourselves.
• Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility)
Ujima (OO-GEE-MAH). 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)
Ujamaa (OO-JAH-MAH). To build and maintain our own stores, shops and other businesses and to profit from them together.