What is Kwanzaa?

In addition to Christmas trees and Hanukkah menorahs, you may notice decorations for another holiday, Kwanzaa.  Since it was first celebrated in the 1960’s, Kwanzaa is a week long celebration of African heritage in America.  The holiday begins on December 26th and ends on January 1st.

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Kwanzaa celebrates the seven principles of Kwanzaa, with each of the seven days dedicated to one particular principle.  The seven principles of Kwanzaa are:

Umoja (Unity): “To strive for and to maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.”
Kujichagulia (Self-Determination): “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 brothers’ and sisters’ 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.”
Nia (Purpose): “To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.”
Kuumba (Creativity): “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.”
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.”

 

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