Kwanzaa is an annual celebration of African-American culture held from December 26 to January 1. It culminates in a communal feast called Karamu, usually held on the sixth day. It was created by Dr Maulana Karenga, based on African harvest festival traditions from various parts of Africa, including West and Southeast Africa. Kwanzaa was first celebrated in 1966. The observance has similarities with Thanksgiving in the United States or the Yam Festival in Ghana and Nigeria. The word "kwanza" is a KiSwahili word meaning "first." The seven principles of Kwanzaa utilize Kiswahili words: unity (umoja), self-determination (kujichagulia), collective work and responsibility (ujima), cooperative economics (ujamaa), purpose (nia), creativity (kuumba), and faith (imani). Happy Kwanzaa Wishes: WhatsApp Messages, GIF Image Greetings, Facebook Quotes, Stickers to Celebrate African American Holiday.

Kwanzaa History & Significance

American Maulana Karenga created Kwanzaa in 1966 during the aftermath of the Watts riots as an African-American holiday. Karenga said his goal was to "give Blacks an alternative to the existing holiday and give Blacks an opportunity to celebrate themselves and their history, rather than simply imitate the practice of the dominant society."

Each family celebrates Kwanzaa by following various traditions and customs, but celebrations often include songs and dances, African drums, storytelling, poetry reading, and a large traditional meal. On each of the seven nights, the family comes together and a child lights one of the candles on the Kinara (candleholder), then one of the seven principles is discussed. Know The Meaning and Pronunciation of Kwanzaa That Celebrated Honouring African Heritage.

Kwanzaa Celebrations

The principles, called the Nguzo Saba (seven principles in Swahili) are values of African culture which contribute to building and reinforcing community among African-Americans. Kwanzaa also has seven symbols which represent values and concepts of African culture. An African feast, called a Karamu, is held on December 31. The symbols of Kwanzaa include crops representing the historical roots of African-Americans in agriculture. Five common sets of values and seven set of principles are central to the activities of the week-long celebrations of Kwanzaa: ingathering, reverence, commemoration, recommitment, and celebration.


(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Dec 28, 2020 07:40 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website