Kwanzaa yenu iwe na heri!
What is Kwanzaa?
Kwanzaa is an African-American holiday celebrated mainly in the US for the week between 26th December and 1st January each year.
The holiday was established in 1966 to help African Americans remember and celebrate their heritage. The word "Kwanzaa" comes from the Swahili language and means "first fruits". Each day of the seven days is dedicated to one of "The Seven Principles of Kwanzaa", which are
- umoja - to maintain unity in the family and community
- kujichagulia - self-determination, to be responsible and speak for oneself
- ujima - collective work and responsibility, to build and maintain a community
- ujamaa - economic co-operation, to help and profit one another
- nia - purpose, to build and develop the community for the benefit of the people
- kuumba - creativity, to do everything possible to leave the community more beautiful and beneficial for future generations
- imani - faith, to believe in parents, teachers and leaders.
A candle is lit each day on the special candlestick, the "kimara", to represent these principles. The kimara is placed on a mkeka, a traditional straw mat, and one ear of corn is also placed on the mat for each child in the family. A fruit basket, called a "mazao", is also displayed, along with a special "unity" cup, out of which everyone drinks. Families decorate their homes with traditional African crafts. The colours red, green and black - representing the African flag - are used. Gifts, known as "zawadi", are given on the last day of Kwanzaa.