Kwanzaa is a week long Pan-African festival primarily honoring African American heritage. It is celebrated from December 26th to January 1st each year, almost exclusively in the United States of America. Kwanzaa is celebrated for seven days and features several activities such as candle lighting, pouring of libations, and it ends with a fest and gift giving. Kwanzaa was created by Ron Karenga and was first celebrated on December 26th, 1966. Karenga calls Kwanzaa the African American branch of “first fruits” celebrations of classical African cultures.
Kwanzaa is a celebration that has its roots in the Civil Rights era of the 1960s and was established as a means to help African Americans reconnect with what Karenga characterized as their African cultural and historical heritage by uniting in meditation and study around principles that have their putative origins in what Karenga asserts are African traditions and common humanist principles.
Kwanzaa celebrates what its founder calls the seven principles of Kwanzaa or the seven principles of blackness. The seven principles of Kwanzaa are as follows,
Unity, which strives for maintaining unity in the family, community, nation, and race. There is also self determination which means to define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves. Collective work and responsibility involves building and maintaining our community together and making our brothers’ and sisters’ problems our problems and solve them together. Building and maintaining our own stores and shops and other businesses in order to profit from them together defines cooperative economics. Purpose involves making our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness. Creativity is to always do as much as we can, in the manner which we can in order to leave our community more beautiful and more beneficial than when we inherited it. Faith is to believe in all of our hearts in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness of victory of our struggle. Celebrating Kwanzaa is a family affair.