Kwanzaa: What Is It And How Is It Celebrated?

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There has never been a higher call for African Americans around the world to get together in spirits than in today’s world. Kwanza is the perfect celebration of the African heritage and talks about our culture, history, and pride. It’s not a religious celebration, and everyone is welcome to share the fruits of life and partake in a gift exchange.

Make this Kwanzaa more meaningful by gifting your loved ones a symbol of our strength and stride.

What Is Kwanzaa And Why It Is Celebrated?
Kwanzaa means first fruits and comes from the Swahili language. It’s a ceremony of culture and not a religion and binds the entire community together. Dr. Karenga introduced this festival to celebrate Black Culture. It’s similar to the harvesting festivals seen in many cultures, but it holds a special value for the African-American community as Kwanzaa means celebrating life with family.

The 7 Principles Of Kwanzaa
Kwanzaa is celebrated over seven days and represented with seven candles.

What do they mean, you ask?

  • Umoja (Unity): Umoja is for the unity of the family, country, and the entire race as a whole.
  • Kujichagulia (Self-Determination): This principle holds you accountable for your own actions and teaches you responsibility.
  • Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility): Ujima signifies the collaboration of the community. Helping each other in times of need and growing strong together.
  • Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics): You reap the benefits of your work when you support each other’s work, businesses, and shops.
  • Nia (Purpose): Nia stands for remembrance of core African American values and heritage.
  • Kuumba (Creativity): Kuumba encourages you to use your creativity to improve your community.
  • Imani (Faith): A belief in your friends, families, leaders, and the eternal struggle of the African American community.

How Is Kwanzaa Celebrated?
There are so many unique and empowering ways to celebrate this festival. A Kinara, the candleholder, is placed on a Mkeka or mat. It holds the seven candles for the seven principles. The celebration is usually during the last seven days of the year and signifies the bounty and success of the family and community as a whole. It’s a time to gather and celebrate and empower the rich heritage.

What Activities Can You Plan For Kwanzaa?
You can indulge in a lot of activities - making your own Kinara, to crafting your own candles, making traditional African American food. For the feast, the festival is full of fun activities that include every member of the family. The evening begins with the lighting of the candles and ends with a feast.

What Gifts Do You Bring On The Days?
The gift sharing session has to be one of the most endearing segments of the festival. It unites the community in spirit, and you can bring a slice of your heritage through gifts that signify and empower your culture. No matter where you are, whether you can wear a dashiki and do the seven days of celebration, you can carry a piece of your culture in your pins, get a warm message on a greeting card and other memorabilia.

If this sounds interesting to you and for gift ideas explore our exciting collection of Kwanzaa products now!

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