Waxing Gibbous Moon
I realized today, the first day of Kwanzaa, that I didn't know the first thing about Kwanzaa so I decided to learn at least the fundamentals. Consulting the good Dr. Googlie, here is part of what I found.
(CNN) — The seven-day holiday is a non-religious one observed in the U.S. meant to honor African Americans' ancestral roots, according to CNN. The holiday celebrations last [from December 26] until the start of the new year on January 1.
Kwanzaa comes from the Swahili phrase "matunday ya kwanza," which means "first fruits," according to CNN.
The holiday was created in 1966 by Maulana Karenga and became popular in the 1980s and 1990s in tandem with the black power movement, CNN reports. The holiday is defined by the seven principals and each day of the festival is dedicated to a specific one, marked by lighting a candle on the kinara, a seven-branched candelabra.
These are the seven principles of Kwanzaa:
Umoja means unity in Swahili.
Karenga defines this on his Kwanzaa website as: "To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race."
Or self-determination. This principle refers to defining, naming, creating and speaking for oneself.
Translated as "collective work and responsibility," Ujima refers to uplifting your community.
"To build and maintain our community together and make our brother's and sister's problems our problems and to solve them together," Karenga writes.
Cooperative economics. Similar to ujima, this principle refers to uplifting your community economically. "To build and maintain our own stores, shops and other businesses and to profit from them together," he writes.
Nia means purpose.
Karenga expands on this principle with, "To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness."
Meaning "creativity," Karenga defines this principle as "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."
The final principle translates to "faith."
Karenga defines this as faith in community, writing, "To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders and the righteousness and victory of our struggle."