Kwanzaa is an African celebration of family, community & culture which was created in 1966 by Dr. Ron “Maulana” Karenga - professor and chair of the Department of Black Studies at California State University, Long Beach. (He is a native of Parsonsburg, Maryland).
Kwanzaa is celebrated December 26 through January 1. The word “Kwanzaa” is derived from the first harvest in Africa & comes from Swahili for first fruits. It is not an alternative to Christmas or other religious observances – it is a cultural celebration.
There are 7 basic principles of Kwanzaa which reinforce the seven basic values of African culture which contribute to building and reinforcing family, community and culture. One of these principles is observed during each day of Kwanzaa.
Like many observances – there are basic symbols involved in the celebration of Kwanzaa – Crops, the mat, the 7 candles & candle holder, corn, unity cup & gifts. Also included are the flag of Pan-Africanism & poster of the 7 principles
The colors of Kwanzaa are red, green & black – black for the people, red for the struggle & green for the future & hope
Gifts are primarily given to children – but must include a book to stress the African tradition of learning & a heritage symbol to reaffirm the African commitment to tradition & history
Divider graphic from:
Border & button design by ML - 2004
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