December 25, Christmas day. The day we wait all year for and the holiday we love to celebrate. But about Kwanzaa, the holiday right after Christmas? What is Kwanzaa? How does it relate to people of African descent? This article attempts to answer those basic questions and many more about Kwanzaa.
With a little help from Google, I found out that Kwanzaa is a secular holiday celebrated by many African Americans from December 26 to January 1. During these days, African Americans learn about the values and culture of Africa.
According to the For Dummies website, Kwanzaa allows time for people to participate in five special activities.
- Reestablishing interpersonal bonds
- Expressing reverence to the Creator
- Commemorating and Honoring Ancestors
- Committing to following cultural ideals
- Celebrating life, family, community, and culture
Along with these five activities, there are seven principles that are a part of Kwanzaa, as stated by to the For Dummies website.
- Umoja – unity. This means to work towards a unity with others in your family and in your community.
- Kujichaguila – self-determination. This means to define oneself. To find one’s purpose in life
- Ujima – collective work and responsibility. This means to collaborate in the community to solve problems.
- Ujamaa – cooperation. This means to build and sustain things that the whole community can benefit from
- Nia – purpose. This means to collectively reach for cultural unity based on tradition
- Kuumba – creativity. This means to use our creativity in order to help our community.
- Imani – faith. This means to believe in our peers, leaders, and the righteousness of our struggles.
Kwanzaa is associated with the colors red, green, and black. A mat or a mkeka is put on a table and decorated with seven candles symbolizing the seven principles and on every passing day of Kwanzaa, one candle is lit. The mkeka is decorated with wonderful art and books that shows the best African culture has, according to the For Dummies website.
The last day of Kwanzaa, January 1, is set aside for meditation and reflection. People who celebrate this day spent the day in contemplating three very important questions.
- Who am I?
- Am I really who I say I am?
- Am I all ought to be?
Kwanzaa is a great holiday and is not involve in any religion. Therefore, any person can celebrate Kwanzaa even for the simple sake of learning about African culture and tradition.