Kwanzaa Celebration

Kwanzaa Celebration

Praise Oladoyin

Kwanzaa is a week-long celebration that starts from December 26 to January 1. The celebration is held in different locations, but mostly in African-American societies because Kwanzaa recognizes African heritage.
In 1966, Kwanzaa was created by Dr. Maulana Karenga, a chairman, and professor of Black Studies at California State University, Long Beach. Karenga wanted to join the African-Americans together as one, so Karenga combined various harvest celebrations to create the foundation of Kwanzaa.
The term “Kwanzaa” is derived from the phrase “matunda ya kwanza” which means “first fruits” in Swahili. Each family celebrates Kwanzaa in its own way, but in general, celebrations often include songs and dances, African drums, storytelling, poetry reading, and a large traditional meal.
Kwanzaa has seven principles (Unity: Umoja, Self-determination: Kujichagulia, Collective Work, and Responsibility: Ujima, Cooperative Economics: Ujamaa, Purpose: Nia, Creativity: Kuumba, Faith: Imani) are a set of ideals created by Dr. Maulana Karenga. Each day of Kwanzaa emphasizes a different principle.
The candle-lighting ceremony each evening provides the opportunity to gather and discuss the meaning of Kwanzaa. The first night, the black candle in the center is lit (and the principle of umoja/unity is discussed). One candle is lit each evening and the appropriate principle is discussed.