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About Kwanzaa 

Jacqueline Bratcher Godden


Kwanzaa is an African American holiday celebrated (by people of African descent throughout the world) for seven days - from December 26th through January 1st. The word Kwanzaa is Swahili for "the first fruits" of the harvest. It is rooted in the ancient celebrations of the harvest held throughout the continent of Africa - North, South East and West. Dr. Maulana Karenga formulated and celebrated the first African American Kwanzaa in 1966 )

     The Seven Principles of Kwanzaa are at the heart of this celebration and are symbolized by the seven candles of the Kinara and embodied in Swahili words for each principle:
     1) Umoja for Unity,
     2) Kuchichagulia for Self Determination,
     3) Ujima for Work and Responsibility,
     4) Ujamaa for Collective Economics,
     5) Nia for Purpose,
     6) Kuumba for Creativity, and
     7) Imani for faith.

     A candle is lit each night for the principle of that day, and added to the candles lit for the previous nights.

     These principles are focused and reflected upon through our eyes as the African peoples of the Americans.

     In the words of Dr. Karenga: "We give thanks and reverence to the Creator for the whole of creation; we honor the memory of our ancestors and of our past; we reaffirm the values that have kept us strong; we celebrate our heritage, our acomplishments and the good in life." For in depth information about the roots of Kwanzaa, see Dr. Karenga's Site.

Many thanks to Jacqueline Bratcher Godden for permission to display this information.
© 1997 Jacqueline Bratcher Godden . All rights reserved.
Jacquie Godden performs Kwanzaa songs on Invocations For Kwanzaa.


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