Kwanzaa, Explained


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Even though it's right smack in the middle of a thousand different religious celebrations, Kwanzaa is not a religious holiday. Dr. Maulana Karenga founded it in 1966 as a way for African Americans to honor the values of their African roots and to inspire those working toward progress. The celebration is based on the year-end harvest festivals that have taken place throughout Africa for thousands of years. The holiday begins Dec. 26 and ends Jan. 1.

Each day of the holiday honors a different principle.

Day 1: umoja (unity)-do something to build your community

Day 2: kujichagulia (self-determination)-use your voice and make choices for the benefit of your community

Day 3: ujima (collective work and responsibility)-help others in your community

Day 4: ujamaa (cooperative economics)-support businesses that care about your community

Day 5: nia (sense of purpose)-set goals for the benefit of your community

Day 6: kuumba (creativity)-find ways to make your community better and more beautiful

Day 7: imani (faith)-believe that a better world can be created for present and future communities

(source: factmonster.com)

Celebrate the holiday in the Jackson community at the Kwanzaa Celebration of Kuumba at Jackson State University's Gallery1 (1100 John R. Lynch St., 601-979-9250). Local nonprofit Women for Progress is partnering up with the community to present the third annual event Dec. 31 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. The celebration includes hands-on activities, music and food. Admission is free. Call 601-960-9250 for more information.


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