Kwanzaa Days on December, 2023: What is this Kwanzaa day ? Is it a day when the government distributes food stamps?
Kwanzaa Days 2023. Kwanzaa UMOJA- UNITY for each day of Kwanzaa is
Kwanzaa is a week-long celebration in the United States honoring African heritage, culture, and seven basic principles. It is observed from December 26th to January 1st each year.
The seven principles are:
1. Umoja (Unity)
To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race.
To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves and speak for ourselves.
3.Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility)
To build and maintain our community together and make our brother's and sister's problems our problems and to solve them together.
4. Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics)
To build and maintain our own stores, shops and other businesses and to profit from them together.
5. Nia (Purpose)
To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
6. Kuumba (Creativity)
To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.
7. Imani (Faith)
To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.
Kwanzaa features activities such as lightning a set of seven candles,called a Kinara, which represent the seven principles, pouring of libations, and ending in a feast and gift giving. Gifts are mainly given in children and include educational books and art or clothing. The art and clothing are either homemade or locally produced and must represent african history and culture.
You'll hear many people say the holiday is 'fake' or a 'lie' because it didn't originate in africa. It was created by Dr. Maulana Karenga in 1966, who is an american and currently a Professor and Academic Adviser Department of Africana Studies at California State University.
Originally, Kwanzaa was created to give people of african heritage an alternative to the existing holidays and an opportunity to celebrate themselves and their history, rather than simply imitate the practices of the dominant society. The founder later decided it should not be an alternative to faith based holidays and could be celebrated along with the other holidays by anyone. However, very few people actually celebrate the holiday today. Most americans of african heritage today prefer to consider themselves to just be american and have issues with the principles of Kwanzaa and the man who created the holiday.
The name Kwanzaa derives from the Swahili phrase 'matunda ya kwanza', meaning first fruits of the harvest. Kwanzaa is modeled on first-fruits or harvest celebrations in ancient Africa, especially on Southern African first-fruits celebrations like Umkhost of Zululand which has seven days. Crops are symbolic of the rewards of productive and collective labor, which is one of the seven principles of Kwanzaa.
The links below provide more information:
what is the history of kwanzaa?
Kwanzaa is a unique African American celebration with focus on the traditional African values of family, community responsibility, commerce, and self-improvement. Kwanzaa is neither political nor religious and despite some misconceptions, is not a substitute for Christmas. It is simply a time of reaffirming African-American people, their ancestors and culture. Kwanzaa, which means "first fruits of the harvest" in the African language Kiswahili, has gained tremendous acceptance. Since its founding in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga, Kwanzaa has come to be observed by more than18 million people worldwide, as reported by the New York Times. When establishing Kwanzaa in 1966, Dr. Karenga included an additional "a" to the end of the spelling to reflect the difference between the African American celebration (kwanzaa) and the Motherland spelling (kwanza).
Kwanzaa is based on the Nguzo Saba (seven guiding principles), one for each day of the observance, and is celebrated from December 26th to January 1st.
Umoja (oo-MO-jah) Unity stresses the importance of togetherness for the family and the community, which is reflected in the African saying, "I am We," or "I am because We are."
Kujichagulia (koo-gee-cha-goo-LEE-yah) Self-Determination requires that we define our common interests and make decisions that are in the best interest of our family and community.
Ujima (oo-GEE-mah) Collective Work and Responsibility reminds us of our obligation to the past, present and future, and that we have a role to play in the community, society, and world.
Ujamaa (oo-JAH-mah) Cooperative economics emphasizes our collective economic strength and encourages us to meet common needs through mutual support.
Nia (NEE-yah) Purpose encourages us to look within ourselves and to set personal goals that are beneficial to the community.
Kuumba (koo-OOM-bah) Creativity makes use of our creative energies to build and maintain a strong and vibrant community.
Imani (ee-MAH-nee) Faith focuses on honoring the best of our traditions, draws upon the best in ourselves, and helps us strive for a higher level of life for humankind, by affirming our self-worth and confidence in our ability to succeed and triumph in righteous struggle.
CELEBRATING KWANZAA As it is always better to get an early start, I suggest that you begin the first week in December by making a check list for the following items: A Kinara (candle holder); Mkeka (placemat preferably made of straw); Mazao (crops, i.e., fruits and vegetables); Vibunzi/Muhindi (ears of corn to reflect the number of children in the household); Kikombe cha umoja (communal unity cup); Mishumaa saba (seven candles, one black, three red, and three green); and Zawadi (gifts that are enriching).
It is important that the Kinara not be confused with the menorah.* The Kinara holds seven candles to reflect the seven principles which are the foundation of Kwanzaa. If you don't have a Kinara and don't know where to get one, it is suggested that you use "kuumba" (creativity) and make one. A 2x4 or a piece of driftwood will do just fine, and screw-in candle holders can be purchased in most hardware stores. The Mkeka (place mat) shouldn't present a problem. While straw is suggested because it is traditional, cloth makes an adequate substitute. If cloth is used, one with an African print is preferred. The other symbols are easy to come by and warrant no further discussion other than to caution against placing the Mazao (crops)in a cornucopia which is Western. A plain straw basket or a bowl will do just fine. One last note, even households without any children should place an ear of corn on the place mat to symbolize the African concept of social parenthood. All seven symbols are creatively placed on top of the place mat, i.e., the symbols should be attractively arranged as they form the Kwanzaa centerpiece.
DECORATING THE HOME The Kinara along with the other symbols of Kwanzaa should dominate the room, which should be given an African motif. This is easily achieved and shouldn't result in too much expense. The colors of Kwanzaa are black, red and green. This should be kept in mind when decorating the home. Black, red and green streamers, balloons, cloth, flowers, and African prints can be hung tastefully around the room. Original art and sculpture may be displayed as well.
GIFTS Kuumba (creativity) is greatly encouraged. Not only is Kuumba one of the seven principles, it also brings a sense of personal satisfaction and puts one squarely into the spirit of Kwanzaa. Therefore, those symbols that can be made, should be made. The giving of gifts during Kwanzaa should be affordable and of an educational or artistic nature. Gifts are usually exchanged between parents and children and traditionally given on January 1st, the last day of Kwanzaa. However, gift giving during Kwanzaa may occur at any time.
THE KWANZAA FEAST OR KARAMU The Kwanzaa Karumu is traditionally held on December 31st (participants celebrating New Year's Eve, should plan their Karamu early in the evening). It is a very special event as it is the one Kwanzaa event that brings us closer to our African roots. The Karamu is a communal and cooperative effort. Ceremonies and cultural expressions are highly encouraged. It is important to decorate the place where the Karamu will be held, (e.g., home, community center, church) in an African motif that utilizes black, red, and green color scheme. A large Kwanzaa setting should dominate the room where the karamu will take place. A large Mkeka should be placed in the center of the floor where the food should be placed creatively and made accessible to all for self-service. Prior to and during the feast, an informative and entertaining program should be presented. Traditionally, the program involved welcoming, remembering, reassessment, recommitment and rejoicing, concluded by a farewell statement and a call for greater unity.
Below is a suggested format for the Karamu program, from a model by Dr. Karenga.
Introductory Remarks and Recognition of Distinguished Guests and All Elders.
Cultural Expression (Songs, Music, Group Dancing, Poetry, Performances, Unity Circles)
Reflections of a Man, Woman and Child.
Kuchunguza Tena Na Kutoa Ahadi Tena (Reassessment and Recommitment)
Introduction of Distinguished Guest Lecturer and Short Talk.
Tamshi la Tambiko (Libation Statement) It is tradition to pour libation in remembrance of the ancestors on all special occasions.
Kwanzaa, is such an occasion, as it provides
us an opportunity to reflect on our African past and American present. Water is suggested as it
holds the essence of life and should be placed
in a communal cup and poured in the direction
of the four winds; north, south, east, and west.
It should then be passed among family members
and guests who may either sip from
the cup or make a sipping gesture. LIBATION STATEMENT
For The Motherland cradle of civilization.
For the ancestors and their indomitable spirit
For the elders from whom we can learn much.
For our youth who represent the promise for tomorrow.
For our people the original people.
For our struggle and in remembrance of those who have struggled on our behalf.
For Umoja the principle of unity which should guide us in all that we do.
For the creator who provides all things great and small.
. Kikombe Cha Umoja (Unity Cup)
Kutoa Majina (Calling Names of Family Ancestors and Black Heroes)
kwanzaa is on what day?
December 26, 2007 - January 1, 2008