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~ Kwanzaa ~

A woman lighting kinara candles photo credit Wikimedia Commons

Kwanzaa
is a 50+-year-old African-American holiday now celebrated in African communities around the world. Its roots are both modern and ancient.

In short, Kwanzaa is an African American holiday which celebrates family, community and culture. The word itself gets it origin from the Kiswahili phrase "matunda ya kwanza" which means "first fruits of the harvest" which is a depiction of the celebration of harvesting the first crops in traditional Afica.

Although it is celebrated in the midst of the religious Christmas holiday season Kwanzaa itself is a cultural holiday, not religious or political. A Kwanzaa Forever Stamp 2016week long celebration of culture among African Americans, it is not meant to take the place of the Christian observance of Christ's birth. This makes it available to and practiced by African descendants of all religious faiths who come together to observe the rich, ancient and varied common ground of their Africanness.

In 2016 a new Kwanzaa forever stamp from the United States Postal Service was issued; it marked the 50th anniversary of the first celebration of the Kwanzaa holiday.

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Kwanzaa begins the day after Christmas.
The week long celebration is highlighted
each day by a Kwanzaa principle.
The days of observance and the principles are:

The Seven Principles of Kwanzaa (en-GOO-zoh SAH-bah) The Seven Principles of Kwanzaa:

1.

Umoja: Togetherness (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."

2.

Kujichagulia: Self Determination (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.

3.

Ujima: Collective Work and Responsibility (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.

4.

Ujamaa: Cooperative Economics (OO-JAH-MAH) Cooperative economics emphasizes our collective economic strength and encourages us to meet common needs through mutual support.

5.

Nia: Purpose (NEE-YAH) Purpose encourages us to look within ourselves and to set personal goals that are beneficial to the community.

6.

Kuumba: Creativity (KOO-OOM-BAH) Creativity makes use of our creative energies to build and maintain a strong and vibrant community.

7.

Imani: Faith (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.

Kwanzaa is an important time of the year for friends and family to pass on generations of good food and recipes that pay tribute to African-American heritage.

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THE OFFICIAL KWANZAA WEB SITE
http://www.officialkwanzaawebsite.org/

Kwanzaa Heritage
http://www.kwanzaaheritage.org/

Folk Stories for Kwanza
THE WISDOM OF AFRICAN MYTHOLOGY

http://www.abcinfo.com/africax.htm

Kwanzaa home
The Origins of Kwanzaa

Kwanzaa Traditions

Recipes

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