Kwanzaa is a uniquely African-American observance held from December 26- January 1, highlighting the common heritage of African peoples living outside the Motherland. Founded in California by Dr. Maulana Karenga in 1966 following the Watts riots, Kwanzaa features daily principles of reflection, called the Nguso Saba (“seven principles”):
Day 1 (Dec. 26)- Umoja
The first day of Kwanzaa is Umoja(Unity) and we celebrate our common heritage (red), common ancestry (black), and common origin (green). Umoja means promoting a sense of unity in our commUNITY.
Day 2 (Dec. 27)- Kujichagulia
The second day of Kwanzaa is Kujichagulia (“Self- Determination”) and we celebrate the right to set and strive for our own goals, to define ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves.
Day 3 (Dec. 28)- Ujima
The third day of Kwanzaa is Ujima (“Collective Work and Responsibility”) and we celebrate our heritage of working together to build strong communities, as we did in the Motherland. We must continue to be our brother’s and sister’s keeper, and to solve problems together. Everyone has a hand in building our community.
Day 4 (Dec. 29)- Ujamaa
The fourth day of Kwanzaa is Ujamaa (“Cooperative Economics”) and we celebrate our heritage of establishing businesses in order to build and maintain economy within our community.
Day 5 (Dec. 30): Nia
The fifth day of Kwanzaa is Nia (“Purpose”), when we remember our collective purpose of building our commumity according to our rich history and traditions.
Day 6 (Dec. 31): Kuumba
The principle for the 6th day of Kwanzaa is Kuumba (“Creativity”), when we focus on doing all we can to leave our world a more beautiful and beneficial place than it was when we were born, by using creativity to problem solve, build community, and enrich the world for future generations.
Day 7 (Jan 1): Imani
Imani (“Creativity”) is the principle for the 7th and final day of Kwanzaa, when we focus on our common beliefs in: Our Creator, our peoples, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.
Happy Kwanzaa and Happy New Year!!!