What is Kwanzaa?

Carter Genslak, News & Photo Editor

   Kwanzaa is a celebration that starts on December 26th and ends on January 1st. Kwanzaa is a week-long celebration that is held in the United States but is also held in other nations. Kwanzaa celebrates African heritage, unity and culture. The Tradition contains gift giving and a big feast on December 31st. 

   Dr. Maulana Karenga introduced the festival to the united states in 1966 as a ritual to welcome the first harvests to the home. 

   There are seven principles of This Tradition: Umoja (Unity, joining together as a family, community and race), Kujichagulia (Self-Determination, responsibility for one’s own future), Ujima (Collective work and responsibility, building together and solving problems together as a group), Ujamaa (Cooperative economics, The community building and profiting from its own businesses), Nia (purpose, The goal of working together to build community and further the African culture), Kuumba (Creativity, Using new ideas to create a more beautiful and successful community), Imani (Faith, Honoring African ancestors, traditions and leaders and celebrating past triumphs over adversity)

   The seven core symbols are: Mazao (Crops, symbolizes the fruits of collective planning and work), Mkeka (Place Mat, the present day stands on the past), Muhindi ( Ear of Corn, The stalk of corn represents fertility and the idea that through children, the future hopes of the family are brought to life), Mishumaa Saba (The Seven Candles, Recreate the sun’s power and provide light), Kinara (the Candle holder, ancestry), Kikombe Cha Umoja (The unity cup, Honor the ancestors), Zwadi (gifts, gifts given to encourage growth).