On Boxing Day, the 26th December, the African-Americas in diaspora, begun the celebration of Kwanzaa. The celebration is in honor of their heritage. During the duration of celebrations, gifts are exchanged among themselves as feasting, singing and dancing go on.
The Kwanza celebrations will go on from the 26th till the 1st of January, lasting 7 days. The name Kwanzaa is of Swahili origin, meaning “first fruits of the harvest”. The first time it was celebrated was 1966-1967, created by a Ron Karenga, who was an activist in the ‘60s.
The celebration of life is carried out in the spirit of accomplishment of the year and in supplication for the new year. The celebration is governed by seven principles namely; Umoja (unity), Kujichagulia (self-determination), Ujima (collective work and responsibility), Ujamaa (co-operative economics), Nia (purpose), Kuuma (creativity) and Imani (faith). There are also seven symbols associated with the celebration.
Seven candles are used, three red, one black and three green candles with the black in the middle, all sitting on a candle holder called Kinara. It is one of the symbols. Others are, gifts (Zawadi), crops (Mazao), the mat (Mekka), the unity cup (Kikombe Cha Umoja), Vibunzi (ear of corn) and lastly the seven candles (Mishumaa Saba). The black candle represents the people, red, their struggle and green, hope and promise for the future.
This celebration of Kwanzaa, is to reconnect African-American’s with their cultural heritage. Much of which was lot during the period they were slaves. The celebration is not holding only in America, but also in Canada and some diaspora countries.
They also will find time to discuss innovative ways to improve their communities. The celebration is concluded with the theme Faith. Faith in God and the belief in family, and their heritage.
In 2009, an estimated 30 million people celebrated Kwanzaa according to the African American Cultural Center.