I remember whispers of Kwanzaa growing in my younger years in church, in school and at home but I don’t ever remember consciously reverencing the Pan African Celebration. I decided around Thanksgiving time this year that I was going to celebrate Kwanzaa in its entirety, I had not done my research and unfortunately I did not properly prepare for the celebration. In addition to the daily reverence of the seven principles of Kwanzaa, I learned there are seven basic physical symbols and two supplemental ones that also represent values and concepts of Kwanzaa. Now I know for next year! I am still extremely excited and fully committed to the celebration and will reverence each principle daily in my home and via social media.
For those who may not know Kwanzaa is an African American and Pan-African holiday that celebrates family, community and culture. Celebrated from 26 December thru 1 January, its origins are in the first harvest celebrations of Africa from which it takes its name. The name Kwanzaa is derived from the phrase "matunda ya kwanza" which means "first fruits" in Swahili, a Pan-African language which is the most widely spoken African language.
The first-fruits celebrations are recorded in African history as far back as ancient Egypt and Nubia and appear in ancient and modern times in other classical African civilizations such as Ashantiland and Yorubaland. These celebrations are also found in ancient and modern times among societies as large as empires (the Zulu or kingdoms (Swaziland) or smaller societies and groups like the Matabele, Thonga and Lovedu, all of southeastern Africa. Kwanzaa builds on the five fundamental activities of Continental African "first fruit" celebrations: ingathering; reverence; commemoration; recommitment; and celebration. Kwanzaa, then, is:
Kwanzaa Description “Roots and Branches” and photo from www.officialkwanzaawebsite.org
Are you celebrating Kwanzaa this year? How will you apply Kwanzaa’s principles to your personal life throughout the year?
For more info on Kwanzaa visit www.officialkwanzaawebsite.org