What is Kwanzaa? When will be it celebrated in 2023?

If you have the question: What is Kwanzaa? Then we have the answer for you.

Kwanzaa, a seven-day festival held annually from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1, celebrates African and African American culture and history. Conceived by Maulana Karenga, an African-American professor at California State University in 1966, Kwanzaa derives its name from Swahili, meaning “first fruits.” This language choice reflects the widespread use of Swahili in the celebration of pan-Africanism, emphasizing unity and resistance against racism and oppression

The Kinara: Symbolizing Unity and Tradition Central to Kwanzaa is the kinara, a candleholder representing the seven days of the holiday. Known as Mishumaa Saba, it holds three red candles on the left, three green on the right, and a black candle in the center symbolizing the African flag. Each night, candles are lit, akin to the traditions of Hanukkah, symbolizing the principles of Kwanzaa.

What is Kwanzaa

What is Kwanzaa and what are its principles?

Nguzo Saba: Guiding Principles of Kwanzaa Kwanzaa teaches seven principles, known as Nguzo Saba, honored and celebrated on each day of the holiday:

  1. Umoja (Unity): Emphasizing unity of the family, community, nation, and race.
  2. Kujichagulia (Self-Determination): Encouraging personal responsibility for one’s conduct and behavior.
  3. Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility): Advocating collaboration for the betterment of one another and the community.
  4. Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics): Promoting the establishment and support of Black businesses.
  5. Nia (Purpose): Focusing on remembering and restoring African and African American cultures, customs, and history.
  6. Kuumba (Creativity): Inspiring a commitment to leave the community more beautiful and beneficial than inherited.
  7. Imani (Faith): Believing in the righteousness of the African American struggle.
What is Kwanzaa

What is kwanzaa? Its Symbols and their Meaning.

Kwanzaa Symbols and Their Meanings Beyond candles, Kwanzaa is associated with several symbols, each holding unique significance:

  • Mkeka: A woven mat symbolizing experiences and foundations.
  • Kikombe cha Umoja: The unity cup, representing family and community.
  • Mazao: Crops from the harvest, embodying abundance and prosperity.
  • Muhindi: Corn, with one ear for each child or community representation.
  • Zawadi: Educational or handmade gifts for children, echoing African heritage.
  • Kente Cloth: Brightly colored material, often used in clothing, symbolizing cultural pride.

As we approach the annual celebration of Kwanzaa, let us embrace its rich traditions, fostering unity, creativity, and a deep connection to African American roots.

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