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Happy Kwanzaa from the SCNTR

Did you know?

  • Kwanzaa is an African American and Pan-African holiday that celebrates history, values, family, community and culture.

  • According to the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), the holiday was created in 1966 by activist and author, Maulana Ron Karenga, PhD.

  • The word Kwanzaa is a Swahili word derived from the phrase "matunda ya kwanza," meaning "first fruits.

There are lots of fun facts about Kwanzaa, so we put together this list with links so you can learn more!

Kwanzaa is observed over 7 days and has 7 main principles.

Celebrated from December 26 to January 1, Kwanzaa spans over seven days with each day focused on a particular moral, belief, or value. Kwanzaa festivities often include poetry readings, African drums, dancing, storytelling, and feasting.

The Seven Principles include:

Umoja (unity)

Kujichagulia (self-determination)

Ujima (collective work and responsibility)

Ujamaa (cooperative economics)

Nia (purpose)

Kuumba (creativity)

Imani (faith)

Kwanzaa is a time of learning, family and celebration.

During the week of Kwanzaa, families and communities come together to share a feast, to honor the ancestors, affirm the bonds between them, and to celebrate African and African American culture.

Each day they light a candle to highlight the principle of that day and to breathe meaning into the principles with various activities, such as reciting the sayings or writings of great black thinkers and writers, reciting original poetry, African drumming, and sharing a meal of African diaspora-inspired foods.

The table is decorated with the essential symbols of Kwanzaa, such as the Kinara (Candle Holder), Mkeka (Mat), Muhindi (corn to represent the children), Mazao (fruit to represent the harvest), and Zawadi (gifts). One might also see the colors of the Pan-African flag, red (the struggle), black (the people), and green (the future), represented throughout the space and in the clothing worn by participants.

These colors were first proclaimed to be the colors for all people of the African diaspora by Marcus Garvey.

There is so much more to learn about Kwanzaa.

Let us know on our Facebook Page how you are going to celebrate and honor the ancestors!

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