Kwanzaa is a holiday from Dec. 26- Jan 1. Its an important week long holiday celebrations that was started in 1966 by an African American leader, Maulana Karenga. Kwanzaa is a cultural holiday it is not a public or religious holiday or meant to be seen as an alternative to Christmas contrary to what some people may believe. It is a private celebration among individuals, families and local communities which can practiced by a rage people from Africa and their descendants of all religious faiths because it a celebration of family, community and culture.
Kwanzaa celebrates the culture and traditions of people of African origin. The name itself comes from the phrase “Matunda Ya Kwanza” which means “first fruits” in Swahili. The reference of “first fruit” celebrations date back in African history in ancient Egypt and Nubia as well as other African civilizations.
Kwanzaa builds on the five fundamental activities of Africa first fruit celebration, which are ingathering, reverence, commemoration, recommitment and celebration. It’s rooted in the ancient culture and history of Africa and is a branch for African American life and struggle speaking to them as a whole because it stresses history, values, family, community and culture. Overall it’s designed to strengthen community and common Identity, purpose as well as giving direction as a culture and world community.
7 Principles Of Kwanzaa (Nguzo Saba)
Kwanzaa consist of a week of celebrations candles are lit and libation (offering) is poured from a wooden cup calledKikombe Cha Umoja (The Unity Cup).During the celebration a candle is lit on a Kinara (candleholder) and each one represents one of the seven principles of the celebration.
The Kwanzaa candles are seven – three red, a black, and three green. The black candle is a celebration of being black, of the unique and special qualities each person brings to the whole family or community. It is a candle of the present, of today. The green candles are vision candles – candles of hopes, dreams, and promises for the future. The red candles are struggle candles, past candles, candles the color of blood, candles the color of courage
Kwanzaa ceremony often includes musical performances, drumming, meditation, historical discussion, art exhibits and many may wear cultural attire. During Kwanzaa, celebrants greet each other with “Habari gani,” or “What’s the news? The colors of Kwanzaa are black, red and green decoration throughout homes is traditional African cloths, art baskets and harvest symbols. Gift also known as “Zawadi”represent the fruits of labor, love and commitment from your parents are given to children and must be accompanied by a book and heritage symbol that emphasize cultural values and traditions.
The seven principles of Kwanzaa are called “Nguzo Saba”.
- Umoja (Unity)
- Kujichagulia (Self Determination)
- Ujima (Collective Work/Responsibility)
- Ujamaa (Cooperative Economic)
- Nia (Purpose)
- Kuumba (Creativity)
- Imani (Faith)
Dec 31. is a day of feast called “Karamu” where families and communities come together at their homes or community centers and churches sharing traditional dishes.
Jan 1. Is the Last day which is often referred to as Day of Assessment Day of Meditation and Day of Remembrance as known as Akwasidae.
The symbol of Kwanzaa
Kwanzaa has seven symbol as well as two supplement one, which represents the value and concepts of community building and reinforcement.
- Mazao (Crops)
- Mkeka (The Mat)
- Kinara (The Candle Holder)
- Muhindi (The Corn)
- Mishumaa Saba (The Seven Candles)
- Kikombe Cha Umoja (The Unity Cup)
- Zawadi (The gifts)
- Supplements: Bendara (The Flag), Nguzo Saba Poster (poster of seven principles).
Kwanzaa celebrations do not exclude anyone and there tons of activities throughout the city of Buffalo. Kwanzaa can also teach many of us who are not of African descent the importance of family, culture and community.
Kwanzaa events in Buffalo, NY. All of the events will begin at 6:15 p.m.
Kwanzza 2011 Events for Buffalo, NY
- Dec 26. Opening ceremony Performing Arts 6:15 pm
- Dec. 27 African American Cultural Center 6:15 pm
- Dec. 28 Franki Merriweather Library 6:15 pm
- Dec 29. Ujoma Theatre 6:15 pm
- Dec. 30 Museum Of Science keynote (speaker is creator of kwanzaa) 6:15 pm
- Dec 31. Gateway Long view 6:15