African Heritage Network of Luton
Kwanzaa events all year round
Kwanzaa is based upon the 7 principles of the Nguzo Saba. Kwanzaa celebrations normally occur over 7 days from 26th December to 1st January with each day used to highlight one of the principles. Kwanzaa is celebrated all around the world by people from the African diaspora (African Americans, Caribbeans, etc). Kwanzaa is a secular festival that is not a replacement for any other religious activities.
[Swahili ~ First Fruits Of The Harvest]
26th December to 1st January
Kwanzaa, in its present form, was founded by Dr Maulana Karenga in 1966 in America.
It is based on the traditional First Fruits celebration that takes place throughout Africa at different times especially at the end of harvest. It is an African Family occasion where we come together to Remember, Reassess, Reward, Recommit, Rejoice and Celebrate our successes and reaffirm our practice of NGUZO SABA [Seven Principles].
It is very important to know that Kwanzaa is not a 'Black Christmas' or a 'Religion' but it is a way of life.
The 7 Principles are referred to as 'Nguzo Sabo' in Swahili which is the traditional language of Kwanzaa.
KiSwahili (pronounciation) = English - Day of principle
1. Umoja (OO-MO-JAH) = Unity - 26th December
To strive for and to maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race
2. Kujichagulia (KOO-GEE-CHA-GOO-LEE-YAH) = Self Determination - 27th December
To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves.
3. Ujima (OO-GEE-MAH) = Collective Work and Responsibility - 28th December
To build and maintain our community together and make our brothers' and sisters' problems our problems, and to solve them together.
4. Ujamaa (OO-JAH-MAH) Cooperate Economics - 29th December
To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.
5. Nia (NEE-YAH) = Purpose - 30th December
To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
6. Kuumba (KOO-OOM-BAH) = Creativity - 31st December
To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.
7. Imani (EE-MAH-NEE) = Faith - 1st January
To believe with all our hearts in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.
Kwanzaa has seven symbols
1. MKEKA (em-KEH-kah) = Mat.
This is symbolic of our tradition and history and therefore, the foundation on which we build.
2. KINARA (kee-NAH-rah0 = Candle Holder.
This is symbolic of our roots, our parent people -- continental Africans
3. MUHINDI (moo-HEEN-dee) = Corn.
This is symbolic of our children and our future which they embody
4.MAZAO (mah-ZAH-oh) = Crops.
These are symbolic of African harvest celebrations and of the rewards of productive and collective labour.
5. MISHUAA SABA (mee-shoo-MAH-ah SAH-ba) = 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
6. KIKOMB CHA UMOJA (kee-KOHM-bay cha oo-MOH-jah) = Unity CupThis is symbolic of the foundational principle and practice of unity which makes all else possible
7. ZAWADI (zah-WAH-dee) = Gifts. These are symbolic of the labour and love of parents and the commitments made and kept by the children
Kwanzaa has two extra supplementary symbols
A) BENDERA (bayn-day'rah) = Flag.
The colours of the Kwanzaa flag are the colours of the Organization Us, black, red and green; black for the people, red for their struggle, and green for the future and hope that comes from their struggle. It is based on the colours given by the Hon. Marcus Garvey as national colours for African people throughout the world
B) NGUZO SABA (en-goo'zoh sah'bah) = Poster
Poster of The Seven Principles
There are a few informative Kwanzaa DVDs for family viewing:~
The Black Candle
Seven Candles For Kwanzaa
The Proud Family ~ Story Of Kwanzaa
You may view the Official KwanzaaWebsite for more details about how to prepare for and how to celebrate Kwanzaa