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Kwanzaa is a Seven Day Holiday Event of African Heritage. Kwanzaa means the First Fruits in Swahili. The Celebration observes “Nguzo Saba” or Swahili for Seven Principles of Improvement. The event is to inspire African origin peoples for Personal Development and Community Improvement.
The Holiday is worldly or non-religious, and is observed from peoples of all faiths. The Event is practiced from December 26 to January 1. Kwanzaa’s origins are from Egypt, and inspired from the Swahili speaking nations of the African South East, and now have expanded to the United States.
The main custom is the lighting of the Kinara, a seven candle holder. Seven Candles and Seven Days and Seven Kwanzaa Principles (in Swahili & the English translation). One candle is lit per day to reflect upon that day’s betterment.
- Umoja (Unity):
To strive for and to maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.
Day 1: Black Candle known as the Unity Candle is lit in the center.
The Black symbolizes the Present and People.
- Kujichagulia (Self-Determination):
To define and name ourselves, as well as to create and speak for ourselves.
Day 2: Red Candle (just to the left of the Black Candle) is lit.
The Red symbolizes the Past and the blood shed struggle.
- Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility):
To build and maintain our community together and make our brothers’ and sisters’ problems our problems and to solve them together.
Day 3: Green Candle (just to the right of the Black Candle) is lit.
The Green symbolizes the Future and abundant possibilities of Earth.Red & Green candle lightings continue and alternate.
- Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics):
To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.
Day 4: Red Candle
- Nia (Purpose):
To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
Day 5: Green Candle
- 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.
Day 6: Red Candle
- Imani (Faith):
To believe with all our hearts in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.
Day 7: Green Candle
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