Wednesday, December 26, 2012

What's Kwanzaa? Inquiring Minds Want to Know.

I remember when I was still working in the late 60s and early 70s and heard the term, Kwanzaa.  Of course, in some homes and places, the second 'a' has been dropped.  I had no idea at the time about the significance, and I must admit, since it didn't affect me, I didn't take the time to find out the meaning until much later.  

Kwanzaa is an African-American or Pan-African holiday celebrated from December 26 through January 1, and the name originated from the Swahili tongue, "matunda ya kwanza" meaning "first fruits." Many may believe Kwanza is a substitute for Christmas, but that isn't the fact now.  The majority of celebrants, recognize Kwanzaa and Christ's birth.  

Although the holiday period dates back in history to Ancient Egypt, the actual celebration known in the United States was conceived in 1966 by Dr. Laulana Ron Karenga, an author and activist who saw the festivities as a way to promote African American culture.

Just as with the lighting of the Menorah by the Jewish during Hanukkah, the above-pictured candelabra holds candles in the colors significant to the Kwanzaa celebration. 

 "The colors are red, black and green -- the colors of the Pan-African flag, which symbolizes unity among African people all over the world. Black represents the people, red their blood and green the earth and the future."

Process: The black candle in the center is lit by itself on the first night of Kwanzaa and together with a red or green candle each night thereafter.

I borrowed the quote from this very informative site.
 
If you'd like to learn more about the celebration, I urge you to click and read the seven principles on which Kwanzaa is based.

Here's another helpful site with more information:  http://www.novareinna.com/festive/kwanzaa.html

So, Happy Kwanzaa to all who celebrate.  


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