Posted in A Professor's Thoughts..., Holiday Celebration!!, Resources

Habari Gani?!! It’s Kwanzaa Time!!

Habari Gani!! It’s that time of year again, a time to celebrate an annual tradition of family, community, and culture!! So you ask what time is it…It’s Kwanzaa Time (December 26-January 1)!!

Check out a little taste here in the documentary on Kwanzaa called “The Black Candle” (narrated by world renowned poet Maya Angelou and directed by award-winning author and filmmaker MK Asante):

You can watch the entire film here!!

During this holiday, families and communities “organize activities around the Nguzo Saba” (The Seven Principles):

  • Umoja (Unity)
  • Kujichagulia (Self-Determination)
  • Ujima (Collective Work & Responsibility)
  • Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics)
  • Nia (Purpose)
  • Kuumba (Creativity)
  • Imani (Faith)

In addition to the seven principles there are a total of nine symbols (in Swahili and English) that make up Kwanzaa:

  • Mazao (The Crops): These are symbolic of African harvest celebrations and of the rewards of productive and collective labor.
  • Mkeka (The Mat): This is symbolic of our tradition and history and therefore, the foundation on which we build.
  • Kinara (The Candle Holder): This is symbolic of our roots, our parent people — continental Africans.
  • Muhindi (The Corn): This is symbolic of our children and our future which they embody.
  • Kikombe cha Umoja (The Unity Cup): This is symbolic of the foundational principle and practice of unity which makes all else possible.
  • Mishumaa Saba (The Seven Candles): These are symbolic of the Nguzo Saba, the Seven Principles, the matrix and minimum set of values which African people are urged to live by in order to rescue and reconstruct their lives in their own image and according to their own needs.
  • Zawadi (The Gifts): These are symbolic of the labor and love of parents and the commitments made and kept by the children.
  • Bendera (The Flag): The colors of the Kwanzaa flag are colors of the Organization Us, black, red and green – black for the people, red for their struggle, and green for the future that comes from their struggle. The Bendera is based on the national flag given to us by the Hon. Marcus Garvey, with slight adjustments in order and interpretation of the colors made in the 1960s along with many African countries.
  • Nguzo Saba Poster: The Nguzo Saba poster or some form of the written Nguzo Saba should always be a part of the Kwanzaa set. For it is these Seven Principles which give Kwanzaa its core and seven days of cultural focus.

Each symbol “represents values and concepts reflective of African culture and contributive to community building and reinforcement.

This year’s theme is “Kwanzaa, Culture and the Practice of Freedom: A Message and Model For Our Times”!

During this Kwanzaa celebration I will share a little knowledge on each principle and what you can do to take part in this welcoming tradition!! So make sure you stay tuned!!

Today’s principle is UMOJA which means UNITY!! What are you doing today to strive and maintain unity in our families, communities, nations, and the world!! #UMOJA #Celebration #Affirmation

How you can embody UMOJA today is by being kind to your sisters and brothers in order to help keep your family and community strong and happy.

Ahhhh another one of my favorite times of the year!!

For more information check out the following links:

https://www.officialkwanzaawebsite.org/

https://nmaahc.si.edu/kwanzaa

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