When is Kwanzaa

When is Kwanzaa 2023Tuesday, December 26, 2023 – Monday, January 1, 2024
When is Kwanzaa 2024Thursday, December 26, 2024 – Wednesday, January 1, 2025
When is Kwanzaa 2025Friday, December 26, 2025 – Thursday, January 1, 2026
When is Kwanzaa 2026Saturday, December 26, 2026 – Friday, January 1, 2027
When is Kwanzaa 2027Sunday, December 26, 2027 – Saturday, January 1, 2028

Kwanzaa: the modern day festival to honor History

When I first read about it, I found it quite hard to believe that a festival of this much significance and value only came into existence in a mere decades ago. Kwanzaa is a celebration of African American culture and history, founded by Dr. Maulana Karenga, a professor and chairman of the Black Studies at California State University.

Kwanzaa gets its name from the Swahili phrase “matunda ya kwanza” rooting in the First Fruit celebrations found in all of Africa. It is a time for people and communities to come together and celebrate the African American culture. It is celebrated over a week, with seven candles, one black, 3 red and 3 green, one for each principle and each day.

Check out facts about the festival and more about Kwanzaa 2023 so that you too can join in on the celebrations along with your African American Friends.

A crash lesson on Kwanzaa: the Seven Principles

Kwanzaa is a weeklong festival that spans from Dec 26th to January 1st. The festival itself bears no origins in Africa, but rather takes a bit from every culture and place. It is based upon seven principles; each assigned its own day in the Kwanzaa week, namely:

Umoja (Unity): On the first day of Kwanzaa, members of the community/family focus on the principle of Umoja. This principle emphasizes the importance of unity in all; including family, community, nation, and race. You light the center black candle in dedication to Umoja on day one.

Kujichaguliya (Self Determination): This principle, observed on the second day, focuses on building your identity as an individual and a community. Traditionally you’d light a red candle on this day buy different communities and families follow different traditions.

Ujima (Collective Work & Responsibility): This principle focuses on the collective responsibility for both achievements and setbacks in the community. The third candle (and the first green), immediately next to the black candle on the other side, is lit.

Ujama (Cooperative Economics): Ujama focuses on the efforts to pool resources together to benefit the community and neighborhood, building a communal sense of Profit. The fourth (second red) candle is lit on this day.

Nia (Purpose): as the name suggests, this fifth principle is all about being proactive about setting your own goals and also goals that are for the community as a whole. Second green candle is lit on the fifth day.

Kuumba (Creativity): This principle of creativity is focused on improving and bringing beauty and life to the community using that creativity. The third and last red candle is lit.

Imani (Faith): the last principle of Kwanzaa is based on faith, not religious per se, but to family and community traditions as a spiritual center. It is a belief in community leaders, teachers and loved ones, past and present. The final green candle is lit on this final day.


The Seven Symbols of Kwanzaa:

Additional to these 7 principles, there are also seven symbols that hold quite significance. Let go over them briefly.

Mazao (Crops) symbolize the result/fruits of collective planning and hard work. It signifies the joy, sharing and thanksgiving of the African Harvest festivals.
Mkela (Place mat) symbolizes the historical and traditional foundation on which people and the community stand on.
Muhindi (Ear of corn) the stalk of corn symbolizes fertility and is related to future, through the children.
Mishumaa Saba (The seven candles) is the ceremonial objects that represent the sun’s power, to create light.
Kinara (The candleholder) represents the ancestry and the original stalk from with people came.
Kikombe Cha Umoja (The unity cup) a symbol of unity and remembrance from which all the family members drink on the 6th day.
Zawadi (Gifts) are given on the seveth day to encourage growth, achievement and success.

Ready to celebrate Kwanzaa?

I really find it fascinating that even though this festival has no religious background and no historical references it still hold such a significance in the African American community and does more about teaching values and lessons than any other festival does.

Kwanzaa 2023 is coming up real soon. I hope you’re well familiar with the festival now so that you too can appreciate the significance behind this celebration. Check out more about Kwanzaa 2023.

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