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Kwanzaa Fact Sheet

  • Black news from Pasadena - News - Kwanzaa factsKWANZAA means First Fruit and was originally spelled with one "A". Dr. Maulana Karenga added an "A" not to leave a child out of the spelling the word in a presentation and the "A" has come to emphasize the African Americaness of the holiday's origin.
  • Dr. Maulana Karenga created Kwanzaa in 1966 and it was celebrated simultaneously in Los Angeles and San Diego.
  • Kwanzaa is not a religious or hero oriented holiday but one of celebrating family, community and culture.
  • The purpose of Kwanzaa is to place an emphasis, one week out of the year, to reflect & rededicate to practicing the NGUZO SABA (The Seven Principles) which are the cornerstones to Kwanzaa. The principles are Umoja (Unity); Kujichagulia (Self-Determination); Ujima (Collective Work & Responsibility); Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics); Nia (Purpose); Kuumba (Creativity); and Imani (Faith).
  • The meaning of the Kwanzaa setting symbols are: Mkeka (Straw mat) - The foundation of African people, their history, social ethics and principles; Kinara (Wooden Candle Holder) - Symbolic of the mother and father being the foundation of community; Kikombe Cha Umoja (Unity Cup) - Used for community libation and symbolic of rededication to community unity; Mazao (Crops) - Harvest crops symbolic of all the positive contributions in the past year that we have made to our survival with dignity; Muhindi (Heads of Corn) - Symbolic of each child in a family, however where there are no children, one ear of corn is still set out; Mishumaa Saba (Seven Candles) - Represents each of the Seven Principles celebrated; Bendera (Red, Black and Green Flag) - Given to African people by Ancestor Marcus Mosiah Garvey and is symbolic of our oneness and continual struggle for self-determination; Nguzo Saba (Seven Principles) - The reason for celebrating Kwanzaa and its display serves as a constant reminder of the reason for Kwanzaa.
  • The festive day is Kuumba and a Karamu (feast) is prepared where everyone sings, dances, tells stories, recites poetry and plays games along with eating and drinking. It is the time when children are given Zawadis (gifts) as rewards for having lived up to the Nguzo Saba the past year. Rules about Zawadis: One must be a heritage gift (African jewelry) and a culturalbook. Gifts are not extravagant nor popular culture oriented.
  • Traditional Kwanzaa week greetings: Habari Gani (What's the news)? Recite the principle of the Day (Umoja) in response and then respond with Habari Gani, followed by the first person responding with the principle of the day.
  • Book: Kwanzaa, A Celebration of Family, Community and Culture by Dr, Maulana Karenga,; (213) 299-6124. UsUniversity of Sankofa Press, 3018 West 48th Street Los Angeles, CA. 90043-1335, (323) 299-6124, (323) 299-0261 Fax. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . [www.Us-Organization.org and www.OfficialKwanzaaWebsite.org].





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