Kwanzaa: What it is and when it is celebrated?

Kwanzaa is a seven-day festival which is celebrated next day after Christmas. Kwanzaa is celebrated by Africans and American Africans which follows their culture and history. Kwanzaa always takes place from 26 December to 1 January.

What is Kwanzaa?

It was established in the year 1966 by Ron Karenga. The main aim of Kwanzaa is to reconnect black
American s to their African roots and recognize their struggle to build their community. Kwanzaa was derived from the Swahili term which means, "Matunda ya Kwanzaa" it means "First Fruits".
Kwanzaa has Seven Principle known as Nguzo Saba so it is celebrated for seven days. Seven principles are, Umoja(Unity), Kujichagulia(self-determination), Ujima(collective work and responsibility), Ujamaa(co-operative economics), Nia(purpose), Kuumba(creativity), and Imani(faith).
Each day of Kwanzaa emphasizes a different principle and meaning:

1)  Umoja(Unity):
 To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.

2) Kujichagulia(self-determination):
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(co-operative 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.

With Seven principle Kwanzaa also represents the Seven Symbols which are as follow:

1) Mazao(Fruits, Nuts and vegetables)
These remind celebrants of the harvest fruits that nourished the people of Africa.

2) Mkeka(Place Mat)
The symbols of Kwanzaa are arranged on the mkeka, which may be made of straw or African cloth. It symbolizes the foundation upon which communities are built.

3) Vibunzi(Ear Con)
Traditionally, one ear of corn is placed on the mkeka for each child present.

4) Mishumaa Saba (The Seven Candles)
A different candle is lit each day. Three candles on the left are green; three on the right are red; and in the middle is a black candle.

5) Kinara(Candle Holder)
 It said to symbolize stalks of corn that branch off to form new stalks, much as the human family is created.

6) Kikombe Cha Umoja(The Unity Cup)
Celebrants drink from this cup in honor of their African ancestors. Before drinking, each person says "harambee," or "let's pull together."

7) Zawadi(Gifts)
Traditionally, educational and cultural gifts are given to children on January 1, the last day of Kwanzaa.

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