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All About Kwanzaa

Dec 25, 2014

There are lots of different cultural holidays in December, from Christmas to Hannukah, but one holiday you may not know about is Kwanzaa - a week-long celebration of African and African American history! Find out more in All About Kwanzaa!

What is Kwanzaa?

Kwanzaa is a celebration of African heritage and culture that takes place between December 26th and January 1st every year, it is mostly celebrated in North America and by people of African descent around the world. The word "kwanzaa" comes from the Swahili saying "matunda ya kwanza," which means "the first fruits of the season." The holiday was invented by Maulana Karenga, who felt that African Americans needed a holiday that celebrated their own culture and heritage during what is traditionally "the holiday season" in America. Much like other December holidays, like Christmas or Hannukah, Kwanzaa leads up to a day with of feasting and giving gifts among family members. The first Kwanzaa was celebrated in 1966.

All About KwanzaaKwanzaa is celebrated from December 26th to January 1st
 

How to Celebrate

To celebrate Kwanzaa people decorate their homes with colorful African cloth and art, and Kwanzaa ceremonies usually involve showing respect for ancestors. Traditional decorative Kwanzaa symbols include a decorative mat, upon which other symbols are placed: corn to represent crops, a kinara (candle holder with seven candles), a communal cup for sharing libations,gifts and sometimes a poster  of the seven principles that Karenga founded Kwanzaa on. The Seven Principles of African Heritage or "Nguzu Saba" are:

  • Umoja (Unity)
  • Kujichagulia (Self-Determination)
  • Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility)
  • Ujamma (Sharing)
  • Nia (Purpose)
  • Kuumba (Creativity)
  • Imani (Faith)

All About KwanzaaThe Kinara holds seven candles, which each represent a different principle

Kwanzaa Quick Facts

  • Although Kwanzaa was meant as an alternative to Christmas, many people celebrate both
  • There is a documentary about Kwanzaa called The Black Candle
  • Around 2 million people in America observe Kwanzaa
  • Kwanzaa may be catching on in other countries like Brazil, Canada and Portugal
  • American Kwanzaa stamps were created in 1997 and 2004
  • Some people wear traditional African clothing to celebrate, like Dashikis and Kaftans
Have Your Say

Do you celebrate Kwanzaa? Let us know in the comments section below.

 

10 Comments

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Does your family celebrate Kwanzaa?

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Random In The Forums

Pink_Cool_Girl
Yes. They actually are. 
reply about 2 hours
rainbowpoptart
"Pink_Cool_Girl" wrote:Anyways, I know girls are into cleaning and dolls, and you have a very good point there. But your also missing it.  I feel like I addressed everything.. Which part of your point am I missing?   "Pink_Cool_Girl" wrote:ANOTHER thing is the computer for boys and girls. One computer is $12.99. 50 functions. Blue and white. AKA for boys.    Girls: -White and pink -9 dollars -25 DAMN FUNCTIONS I suppose that does look a bit problematic. Are they the same brand?
reply about 3 hours
Pink_Cool_Girl
Oh Rainbowpoptart. Where were you. Anyways, I know girls are into cleaning and dolls, and you have a very good point there. But your also missing it. ANOTHER thing is the computer for boys and girls. One computer is $12.99. 50 functions. Blue and white. AKA for boys. Girls:-White and pink-9 dollars-25 DAMN FUNCTIONSProve anything to you yet? 
reply about 3 hours
Pink_Cool_Girl
"Powerslave" wrote:Generally boys are more into things that are more competitive, violent etc. and girls are generally into beauty, dolls and things of that nature. These toys reflect that idea.Yes, but new feminists are being born each day. See, I hate pink, beauty, and I cringe at the name "Shopping". I know others don't, but most do. Speaking of which, I was on ROBLOX today when someone said "Girls are noobs".  I was extremely offended by this. I know this got off topic, but still. Girls shouldn't be influenced by toys and gender roles. 
reply about 3 hours
rainbowpoptart
Companies create products targeted towards a specific audience.     Toys specifically targeted towards girls are pink and frilly or about professions mostly girls have aren't that way because it's sexist, they're that way because girls generally like the colour pink, pretending to cook (because cooking is really fun), and enjoy taking care of their stuffed animals or baby dolls as if they were actual living things. (These things also teach them skill sets that will be helpful to them in the future, such as how to raise a child if you have any and how to cook so you don't starve to death.)      Toys specifically targeted towards boys are blue or green and/or related to guns and cars and gross bugs/animals because that's what guys are generally into. (And I haven't heard of any science kits targeted specifically towards boys..? Every science kit advert I've seen has had both males and females in it, and I've seen a rather nice amount of them.) That's just the way we are. Nothing will change that. I don't think toys [and other things] should be specifically gendered. Anyone can do and play with anything. Just because it's targeted towards girls or because girls generally have this job more than boys do, doesn't mean a boy can't play with that toy or have that job and vice versa. A product being for this one gender shouldn't stop people of the other gender from buying it. This probably wasn't as coherent as I'd like for it to be, but today's science lesson completely fried my brain, and I don't think I can properly do anything except breathe for the next few hours.
reply about 3 hours