Kwanzaa: A Brief Explanation

Joyous Kwanzaa! That is the greeting for the holiday we know as Kwanzaa. Kwanzaa was created in 1966 by a black power activist, Maulana Karenga, and is now celebrated each year to honor African heritage.

Kwanzaa goes on from December 26th until January 1st, seven whole days. Seven candles are lit during this time to represent the 7 principles of Kwanzaa, Umoja (union), Kujichagulia (self-determination), Ujima (collective work and responsibility), Ujamaa (cooperative economics), Nia (purpose), Kuumba (creativity), and Imani (faith).

People still stay strict to Kwanzaa to keep the integrity of the holiday, but many families are beginning to celebrate Kwanzaa along with Christmas and New Years, incorporating their own elements to these holidays.

For traditional celebrations of Kwanzaa, households are decorated with art pieces and fresh fruit that represent African idealism.

Another part of the festive tradition is to have music along with readings of the African pledge, followed by a discussion of the readings, a candle ritual, and finally their feasting.

The Kwanzaa feast includes a main dish with a side of choice. The main dishes are African Creole, Cajun catfish, jerk chicken, or Groundnut Stew. The many sides include Jollof rice, collard greens, grits, and beans and rice.

Kwanzaa holds a meaningful part for those who celebrate it and is a time of reflection, thanks, and bonding.

Sources: Interexchange, Better Homes & Gardens, Wikipedia

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