2023 Home For The Holidays

Page 40 2023 Home For The Holidays Lincoln Daily News November 23, 2022 What is Kwanzaa? While many people may be familiar with the name of this holiday, they may not know much more about it. Kwanzaa is a cultural holiday that is celebrated starting on the day after Christmas and ending on New Year’s Day. Since it begins the day after Christmas, one may get the initial impression that Kwanzaa is a religious holiday. This is not the case, however, as Kwanzaa is a cultural holiday, created to celebrate African culture in the United States and throughout the world. The history of Kwanzaa is an interesting one. One cannot understand the significance of what Kwanzaa is without understanding why it was created. This cultural holiday was created in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Ron Karenga. According to the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), Dr. Karenga created Kwanzaa in the immediate aftermath of the Watts Riots. The Watts Riots occurred in 1965 after an African American driver was pulled over by police. After the altercation became violent, community members report seeing a police officer hurt a pregnant woman. This resulted in six days of civil unrest. Karenga stated he created Kwanzaa to “give Blacks an opportunity to celebrate themselves and their history, rather than simply [imitating] the practice of the dominant society.” The universally significant principals of Kwanzaa Dr. Karenga modeled Kwanzaa after traditional African harvest festivals. The word Kwanzaa comes from a Swahili phrase “matunda ya kwanza,” meaning “first fruits.” According to history.com, the extra “a” was added to the name to accommodate the seven children who were at the first Kwanzaa in 1966. Each of the seven children wanted a letter to represent. The celebration of Kwanzaa itself centers around seven principles, also called “Nguzo Saba.” Those principles are umoja (unity), kujichagulia (self-determination), ujima (collective work and responsibility), ujamaa (cooperative economics), nia (purpose), kuumba (creativity), and imani (faith). In addition to the seven principles of Kwanzaa, there are also seven candles that are lit over the course of the seven-day holiday. The seven candles are held in a special candle holder Continued --