Kwanzaa is an African American holiday which celebrates family, community and culture. Celebrated from 26 December thru 1 January, its origins are [tied to] the first harvest celebrations of Africa. The name Kwanzaa is derived from the phrase “matunda ya kwanza” which means “first fruits” in Swahili.
- a time of ingathering of the people to reaffirm the bonds between them;
- a time of special reverence for the creator and creation in thanks and respect for the blessings, bountifulness and beauty of creation;
- a time for commemoration of the past in pursuit of its lessons and in honor of its models of human excellence, our ancestors;
- a time of recommitment to our highest cultural ideals in our ongoing effort to always bring forth the best of African cultural thought and practice; and
- a time for celebration of the Good, the good of life and of existence itself, the good of family, community and culture, the good of the awesome and the ordinary, in a word the good of the divine, natural and social.
Kwanzaa was established in 1966. [It] was conceived and established to serve several functions.
Kwanzaa was created [as] an expression of recovery and reconstruction of African culture and in the specific context of The Organization Us [United Slaves], the founding organization of Kwanzaa [SLA] and the authoritative keeper of its tradition.
Kwanzaa was created to introduce and reinforce the [Seven Snakes:] Umoja (Unity), Kujichagulia (Self-Determination), Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity), and Imani (Faith).
Kwanzaa was conceived as a fundamental and important way to introduce and reinforce these values and cultivate appreciation for them.