December 26th - January 1st
Theme 2008: "Kwanzaa and the Seven Principles: Repairing and Renewing the World"
Kwanzaa, a non-religious holiday traditionally celebrated by black Americans, edifies and venerates community, family, and culture. The name “kwanzaa” comes from the phrase “matunda ya kwanza” which means “first fruits” in Swahili.
Kwanzaa was established in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga during the Black Freedom Movement, and in the specific context of The Organization Us, the founding organization of Kwanzaa and the authoritative keeper of its tradition. The holiday was created to serve as a regular communal celebration to reaffirm and reinforce the bonds within the black community. Kwanzaa is a reflection of the prominent concern for cultural solidity in thought and practice, and the unity and self-determination associated with this.
Kwanzaa lasts for seven days and was conceived and established to serve several functions. It builds on the five fundamental activities of Continental African "first fruit" celebrations: ingathering, reverence, commemoration, recommitment, and celebration. Kwanzaa, then, is:
The colors of Kwanzaa are black, red and green: black for the people, red for their struggle, and green for the future and hope that comes from their struggle. There is one black candle, three red candles, and three green candles. These are the mishumaa saba (the seven candles) and they represent the seven principles. Each evening the celebrating family gathers to light the candles; the candle corresponding to the principle of the day is lit. The candle lighting procedure is done to indicate that the people come first, then the struggle and then the hope that comes from the struggle.
African American Cultural Center. (1999-2008) Kwanzaa: A Celebration of Family, Community and Culture. Retrieved November 20, 2008, from http://www.officialkwanzaawebsite.org/index.shtml
History. Kwanzaa. Retrieved November 20, 2008, fromhttp://www.history.com/minisite.do?content_type=mini_home&mini_id=1047
Why We Celebrate—or Don’t Celebrate Kwanzaa.