A celebration of pride in our African heritage and beliefs

Kwanzaa

 

Each year the Black Community celebrates Kwanzaa during the period of December 26th to January 1st, as an affirmation of our cultural self-determination. Kwanzaa is from the Swahili phrase meaning “first fruits.”  The holiday is patterned after the African harvest festivals that take place at the end of the Old Year and the beginning of the New Year.  It is a time to reflect on the blessings we have enjoyed throughout the year and to celebrate our African heritage.  Kwanzaa brings families and communities together to acknowledge that communal support is needed to grow and prosper.

Nguzo Saba (Seven Principles)

 

Kwanzaa centers around seven principles that are our foundation. Each day of Kwanzaa emphasizes a different principle.

 

 

Umoja (oo-MOH-jah): Unity

        December 26

Success starts with unity. Unity of family, community, nation and race

 

Kujichagulia (koo-jee-chah-goo-LEE-ah): Self Determination  

        December 27

To be responsible for ourselves.  To create your own destiny.

 

Ujima (oo-JEE-mah: Collective Work and Responsibility

        December 28

To build and maintain your community together. To work together to help one another within your community.

 

Ujamaa (oo-jah-MAH): Cooperative Economics

        December 29

To build, maintain and support our own stores, establishments, and businesses.

 

Nia (NEE-ah): Purpose

        December 30

To restore African American people to their traditional greatness.

To be responsible to Those Who Come Before (our ancestors) and to Those Who Will Follow (our descendants).

 

Kuumba (koo-OOM-bah): Creativity

        December 31

Using creativity and imagination to make your communities better than what you inherited.

 

Imani (ee-MAH-nee): Faith

         January 1

Believing in our people, our families, our educators, our leaders, and the righteousness of the African American struggle.    

 

On December 31st participants celebrate with a banquet of food which is often cuisine from various African countries.  Participants greet one another with “Habari Gani” which is Swahili for “how are you/how’s the news with you?”  Gifts are exchanged.

Symbols of Kwanza

 

Each year the Black Community celebrates Kwanzaa during the period of December 26th to January 1st,

The symbols of Kwanzaa represent the historical roots of Africans and people of African descent in agriculture and also the reward for collective labor.

 

Mazao (Crops): these crops symbolize African harvesting celebrations as well as the rewards of productivity and collective labor.

Mkeka (Mat): the mat symbolizes the foundation of the African Diaspora--tradition and heritage.

Kinara (Candleholder): the candleholder symbolizes African roots.

Muhindi (Corn): corn represents children and the future, which belongs to them.

Mishumaa Saba (Seven Candles): emblematic of Nguzo Saba, the seven principles of Kwanzaa. These candles embody the values of the African Diaspora.

Kikombe cha Umoja (Unity Cup): symbolizes the foundation, principle, and practice of unity.

Zawadi (Gifts): represent parental labor and love. Also symbolizes the commitments that parents make to their children.

Bendera (Flag): the colors of the Kwanzaa flag are black, red and green. These colors were originally established as colors of freedom and unity.  The black is for people; red, the struggles endured; and green, for the future and hope of their struggles.

 

Plan your own Kwanzaa or join in a community celebration. 

Review each principle and symbol. 

Reflect on its meaning for you.

Email: gbabsw@gmail.com

Address:

Greater Boston Association of Black Social Workers

c/o Imani House

516 Warren Street

    Boston, MA 02121   

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