Kwanzaa is an African-American holiday celebrating black heritage. It was founded in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga (born Ronald McKinley Everett) with the hope to educate his people about African-American struggles and their rich cultural heritage.
The holiday lasts for seven days beginning on December 26th. It binds the African harvest customs and the social history of African-Americans. The name Kwanzaa is derived from the East African Swahili phrase “Mantunde ya kwanza” which translates as “the first fruits”. The second “a” was added to give the name seven letters which corresponds to the seven symbols, the seven principles, and the seven days of Kwanzaa.
Families and friends gather at meal time. The unity cup is passed from person to person with each one saying something positive about the African-American community. Next, the candles of the kinara are lit and the principles are recited. Everyone talks and dances as the family joins together to rejoice in their heritage.
Kwanzm Yenu Iwe Na Heri!
“May your Kwanzaa be happy!”
Tech. Sgt. Jennifer Myers (above), 66th Air Base Wing
noncommissioned officer in charge of the Military Equal Opportunity office, demonstrates a Kwanzaa ritual where she lights a candle in the Kinara. photo by Christopher Myers Image from Wikipedia.org.
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Each day of Kwanzaa concentrates on one of these principles. umoha (oo-MO-jah): unity “a commitment to the practice of togetherness both within the family and in our communities” ====== ============ kujichagulia (koo-jee-cha-goo-LEE-ah): self determination “the interest of developing and patterning our lives and images after ourselves instead of having it done for us” ====== ====== [...]
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