Kwanzaa, an African-American festivity of civilizing reaffirmation, is one of the fastest-growing holidays in the history of the world. It started off 30 years ago, when graduate student Maulana Karenga, distressed by the 1965 riots in Los Angeles' Watts area, determined that African-Americans needed a yearly event to commemorate their disparities rather than the melting pot.
Not a spiritual holiday, Kwanzaa is, somewhat a seven-day merriment that begins on Dec 26 and is carried on through Jan 1st. It begins the day after Christmas and ends on New Year's Day.
What is Kwanzaa
Kwanzaa is a devout, joyful and blissful gala of the oneness and decency of existence, which asserts no ties with any religion. It has unambiguous ideology, customs and codes which are associated with the communal and spiritual needs of African-Americans. The emphasizing gesticulations are developed to support the cooperative self concept as a populace, respect our past, decisively assess our present and commit ourselves to a fuller, more prolific expectation. The rationale of Kwanzaa is to bring everybody together in celebration of their black culture.
Kwanzaa, means "first fruits of the harvest" in the African tongue Swahili, has gained tremendous acceptance.The selection of Swahili, an East African language, mirrors its position as a representation of Pan-Africanism, chiefly in the 1960's, although most African-Americans have West African descent. An extra "a" was added to "Kwanza" in order to make it a seven lettered word.
Since its beginning in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga, Kwanzaa has turned out to be observed by over 15 million people globally, as accounted by the New York Times
Principles and Celebrations of Kwanzaa
Participants in Kwanzaa festivities assert their African heritage and the magnitude of family and community by drinking from a unity cup; lighting red, black, and green candles; swapping heritage symbols, such as African art; and unfolding the lives of people who fought back for African and African American independence. People who commemorate Kwanzaa hope to support the black community by sticking to seven guiding principles, designated by words from the Swahili language.
Umoja (OO-MO-JAH) Unity emphasises the importance of togetherness for the relations and the community, which is reproduced in the African saying, "I am We," or "I am because We are."
Kujichagulia (KOO-GEE-CHA-GOO-LEE-YAH) Self-Determination necessitates that we describe our mutual interests and make choices that are in the best concern of our family and community.
Ujima (OO-GEE-MAH) Collective Work and Responsibility reminds us of our responsibility to the past, present and future, and that we have a job to perform in the commune, society, and world.
Ujamaa (OO-JAH-MAH) Cooperative economics put an emphasis on our combined economic strength and hearten us to meet common requirements through mutual support.
Nia (NEE-YAH) Purpose supports us to glance within ourselves and to set individual goals that are advantageous to the society.
Kuumba (KOO-OOM-BAH) Imagination makes use of our artistic energies to build and uphold a strong and pulsating society.
Imani (EE-MAH-NEE) Trust emphasises on honouring the greatest of our customs, draws upon the most excellent in ourselves, and assists us to struggle for a superior level of life for human race, by asserting our self merits and self confidence in our capability to do well and victory in virtuous struggle.
Principle Symbols of Kwanzaa
- Mazao (mah-zah’-oh): the crops, icon of crop celebrations and the rewards of prolific and combined labor.
- Mkeka (em-kay’-kah): the mat, icon of custom and the foundation upon which the people construct a future.
- Mishumaa Saba (mee-shoo-mah-‘ah sah’-bah): the seven candles used to symbolize the seven principles of Kwanzaa.
- Kinara (kee-nah-rah’): a seven candle candleholder, icon of those who come from continental Africa.
- Kikombe cha Umoja (kee-kohm’-bay): the unity cup, emblematic of the foundational principle and the practice of unity.
- Zwadi (zah-wah’-dee): the gifts, emblematic of the labor of love by parents.
- Muhindi (moo-heen’-dee): corn, ears of corn, representing children.
- Bendera (bayn-day’rah): the flag symbolizing the African people. The colors are black for the people, red for blood shed in the fight, and green for the land that is a hope and opportunities.
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