7 Principles of Kwanzaa

Kwanzaa is an African American & Pan-African celebrated holiday. However, in my opinion every one can benefit from this holiday.  Kwanzaa is a Swahili word that means “First” and signifies the first fruits of the harvest, celebrated from December 26 to January 1. I grew up with a full understanding of Kwanzaa. Our mother and our grandfather (maternal) instilled it in my brother and me. We did not celebrate each day of Kwanzaa as it should have been but we knew the principles and their meanings.

 Early on as a parent, I began to give my children the basic understanding as well but most of our focus during this time of the year has been about Christmas (the gifts in all honesty). One of my maternal cousins felt there was an important need to bring Kwanzaa back into our family and to educate the younger generation. I definitely appreciate her for that.

For the past couple of years we have been celebrating Kwanzaa as a family. It is one of the most fulfilling experiences that you could ever have. Being surrounded by loved ones, catching them in a vulnerable state unafraid to pay respect and honor one another and deceased loved ones…AH it feels like such an Oprah ah ha moment…a reminder of love…an awaken moment of the true meaning of family unity and unconditional love.

 You really gain a sense of self worth, love and appreciation of your life and of your family and true friends. The meanings of the seven principles are ones that you should read and marinate on…take a moment to absorb it…take a moment to apply it to your day for the remaining days of Kwanzaa have an ah ha moment of your own this holiday season whether you are African American or not …Habari gani? (Means:  what is the news? And your response would be the principle of the day…)

 7 Principles of Kwanzaa

(the holiday celebrated the day after Christmas for seven days…)

 Day 1

Umoja (oo-MO-jah) Unity stresses the importance of togetherness for the family and the community, which is reflected in the African saying, “I am We,” or “I am because We are.”

 Day 2

Kujichagulia (koo-gee-cha-goo-LEE-yah) Self-Determination requires that we define our common interests and make decisions that are in the best interest of our family and community.

 Day 3

Ujima (oo-GEE-mah) Collective Work and Responsibility reminds us of our obligation to the past, present and future, and that we have a role to play in the community, society, and world.

 Day 4

Ujamaa (oo-JAH-mah) Cooperative economics emphasizes our collective economic strength and encourages us to meet common needs through mutual support.

Day 5

Nia (NEE-yah) Purpose encourages us to look within ourselves and to set personal goals that are beneficial to the community.

 Day 6

Kuumba (koo-OOM-bah) Creativity makes use of our creative energies to build and maintain a strong and vibrant community.

 Day 7

Imani (ee-MAH-nee) Faith focuses on honoring the best of our traditions, draws upon the best in ourselves, and helps us strive for a higher level of life for humankind, by affirming our self-worth and confidence in our ability to succeed and triumph in righteous struggle.

Shawna~ Opening the door to a better you and me one culture at a time…


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