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Celebrate Kwanzaa

12/05/2014 03:45

Discover a perfect way to celebrate the African heritage with Kwanzaa! This famous holiday was founded in 1965 by graduate student Maulana Karenga. He believed that the African American people needed an annual holiday to celebrate their differences, so that they could grow strong as a whole, strengthen their collective self-concepts as a people, honor their past, critically evaluate their present, and commit themselves to a fuller, more productive future.

 Kwanzaa celebrates what is called the seven principles of Kwanzaa, or Nguzo Saba. Each of the seven days of Kwanzaa is dedicated to one of the following principles, as follows:

 - Umoja (Unity): To strive for and to maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race. 

-Kujichagulia (Self-Determination): To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves.

-Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility): To build and maintain our community together and make our brothers' and sisters' problems our problems, and to solve them together.

-Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics): To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.

-Nia (Purpose): To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.

-Kuumba (Creativity): 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.

-Imani (Faith): To believe with all our hearts in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle. One of the important acts of Kwanzaa is to arrange all the Kwanzaa symbols on a table on the 19th of December. The steps are as follows: 1. Spread the Mkeka (A straw mat) 2. Place the kinara (candle stand) in the center of the Mkeka. 3. Place the muhindi (ears of corn) on either side of the Mkeka. One ear of corn for each child in the family. 4. Creatively place the zawadi (gifts), kikombe cha umoja (unity cup), tambiko (water and soil), and a basket of fruit on the mkeka. 5. Hang up bendera ya taifa (flag of the black nation). It should be facing the east. 6. Place mishumaa saba (seven candles) in the kinara. Remember the mishumaa should be red, black and green. Use any creative match you desire. The most common practice is to have One black candle in the center; three red candles to the left of the black candle; and the three red candles to the right of the black center candle. Afterwards it is suggested that you fast for one week to cleanse the body, discipline the mind and uplift the spirit. Kwanzaa brings a cultural message which speaks to the best of what it means to be African and human in the fullest sense. Kwanzaa brings a cultural message which speaks to the best of what it means to be African and human in the fullest sense. Click here to get all you need for Kwanzaa!