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Thursday, December 25, 2008

HAPPY KWANZAA!! (The History of Kwanzaa)

December 26th - January 1st
Kwanzaa is a week long celebration honoring African American heritage with the lighting of the Kinara. Kwanzaa was created to introduce and reinforce seven basic values of African culture which contribute to building and reinforcing family, community and culture among African American people as well as Africans throughout the world African community. These values are called the Nguzo Saba which in Swahili means the Seven Principles.

Developed by Dr. Ron Karenga his goal was to "...give African Americans an alternative to the existing holiday and give African Americans an opportunity to celebrate themselves and history, rather than simply imitate the practice of the dominant society." Kwanzaa was first celebrated from December 26, 1966-January 1, 1967.

Families celebrating Kwanzaa decorate their households with art, colorful African cloth, especially the wearing of the Uwole by women, and fresh fruits that represent African idealism. It is customary to include children in Kwanzaa ceremonies and to give respect and gratitude to ancestors.

A Kwanzaa ceremony may include drumming and musical selections, libations, a reading of the "African Pledge", a discussion of African history, a candle-lighting ritual, artistic performance, and, finally, a feast (Karamu). The greeting for each day of Kwanzaa is "Habari Gani," which is Swahili for "What's the News?"

Happy Kwanzaa!!

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