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Happy Kwanzaa!

Kwanzaa. . .
A Celebration of Family, Community & Culture

Maulana Karenga Kwanzaa is a festive, 7-day African-American cultural holiday which originated in 1966. Created by Dr. Maulana Karenga, Kwanzaa is celebrated from Dec. 26 - Jan. 1. Each day of the celebration focuses on one of seven principles ("Nguzo Saba"). The name, "Kwanzaa", is taken from the Swahili phrase "matunda ya kwanza" which means "first fruits."

Kwanzaa is not a religious holiday, but rather an African-American cultural holiday. It is a spiritual, festive and joyous celebration of the oneness and goodness of life, which claims no ties with any religion.

By creating Kwanzaa, African-Americans sought to rectify the cultural and economic exploitation perpetrated against us during the months of October, November, and December (the Christmas season). During this season, corporate America typically ignored the quality of life concerns of African-Americans, yet encouraged participation in the commercialism of Christmas. Additionally, African-Americans did not observe a holiday that was specific to our needs.

A review of the major holidays celebrated in the United States would reveal that not one related specifically to the growth and development of African-Americans. The development of Kwanzaa assumed a reassessment, reclaiming, recommitment, remembrance, retrieval, resumption, resurrection, and rejuvenation of the "Way of Life" principles recognized by African-Americans. These principles have strengthened African-Americans during our worldwide sojourn.

The seven principles (Nguzo Saba) are: Unity (Umoja), Self-determination (Kujichagulia), Collective Work and Responsibility (Ujima), Cooperative Economics (Ujamaa), Purpose (Nia), Creativity (Kuumba), and Faith (Imani).

The symbols of Kwanzaa serve as instructive and inspirational objects that represent and reinforce desirable principles, concepts and practices as reflective of both traditional and modern concepts which evolved out of the lives and struggles of African-American people. 

Today, Kwanzaa is recognized by millions throughout America and the world. It is celebrated often in community settings provided by homes, churches, mosques, temples, community centers, schools, and places of work. Kwanzaa allows us to celebrate the season without shame or fear of embracing our history, our culture, and ourselves.

The concept of Kwanzaa, the African-American holiday, is to help Black Americans relate to the past in order to understand the present and deal with the future.

Official Kwanzaa Web Site - This site features the work of Dr. Maulana Karenga, founder of Kwanzaa, including his annual Kwanzaa messages and more.

To order the following books, click on the book title.

Kwanzaa: A Celebration of Family, Community and Culture - Dr. Maulana Karenga - Written by the creator of the holiday, this book presents the continental African and African-American origins of the celebration, a chapter on each of the Seven Principles, explanations of the meaning of related symbols, suggested activities, and a wrap-up section in which Karenga answers frequently asked questions. Kwanzaa: A Celebration of Family, Community and Culture<

Kwanzaa: An African-American Celebration of Culture and Cooking - Eric V. Copage

The Complete Kwanzaa: Celebrating Our Cultural Harvest - Dorothy Winbush Riley

The Gifts of Kwanzaa - Synthia Saint James, Abby Levine (Editor)

The Story of Kwanzaa - Donna L. Washington, Stephen Taylor (Illustrator)

Kwanzaa Karamu: Cooking and Crafts for a Kwanzaa Feast - April A. Brady, Barbara Knutson (Illustrator), Robert L. Wolfe (Photographer)

A Kwanzaa Fable - Eric V. Copage, Gregory T. Daniel (Narrator)

Kwanzaa Crafts: Gifts & Decorations for a Meaningful & Festive Celebration - Marcia Odle McNair

Kwanzaa Folktales - Jonelle Allen, Angela Bassett, John Whitman

Celebrating Kwanzaa - Diane Hoyt-Goldsmith, Lawrence Migdale (Illustrator)

The Children's Book of Kwanzaa: A Guide to Celebrating the Holiday - Dolores Johnson

Crafts for Kwanzaa (Holiday Crafts for Kids) - Kathy Ross, Sharon Lane Holm (Illustrator)

Imani's Gift at Kwanzaa (Multicultural Celebrations) - Denise Burden-Patmon, Floyd Cooper (Illustrator), Denise Burden-Patman

Kwanzaa Celebration: Pop-Up Book - Nancy Williams, Robert Sabuda (Illustrator)

Kwanzaa and Me: A Teacher's Story - Vivian Gussin Paley

www.123Greetings.com - Send someone you love a very special Kwanzaa greeting card.

Kwanzaa Bar

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