Kwanzaa begins today and ends on January 1st. If you are not familiar with Kwanzaa it was created in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga, professor of African Studies at California State University, Long Beach to reaffirm and restore African culture. This year marks the 50th year of Celebrating Kwanzaa which is a cultural holiday, not a religious one and is practiced by Africans of all faiths.
The name Kwanzaa means first fruits is a celebration of strong values of African culture. Candles are lit of each night for the seven principles.
The seven Principles celebrated during Kwanzaa are:
- Umoja (Unity)
- Kujichagulia (Self-Determination)
- Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility)
- Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics)
- Nia (Purpose)
- Kuumba (Creativity)
- Imani (Faith)
There is significance to all the elements of the traditional celebration so I suggest you check out the resources for this article beginning with the Official Kwanzaa Website.
I include Kwanzaa as a light holiday because of the candle lighting and the strong cultural principles celebrated. Isn’t the end the year and beginning a new one a good time to reflect on the meaning of cultural values and traditions?