What is Kwanzaa?
Maulana Karenga created Kwanzaa in 1966 as a secular holiday for African Americans to honor their African roots and feel pride in their history. Kwanzaa means ‘first’ in Kiswahili and refers to the first crops of the harvest. This holiday is modeled after the harvest celebrations that take place all over the African continent.
Everyone can celebrate Kwanzaa! The whole community can come together to enjoy storytelling, dancing, music, and the Karamu feast. It’s a time to learn about and participate in Black cultural traditions.
Nguzo Saba - 7 principles
The seven days of Kwanzaa start on December 26th and end on January 1st. Each day focuses on one of the seven principles or Nguzo Saba.
Day 1: Umoja-Unity - to strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and culture
Day 2: Kujichagulia-Self-Determination - to define ourselves, name ourselves, and speak for ourselves, instead of being defined and spoken for by others
Day 3: Ujima-Collective Work and Responsibility - build and maintain our community and solve problems together
Day 4: Ujamaa-Cooperative Economics - building and maintaining our own stores, shops and other businesses to profit from them together
Day 5: Nia-Purpose - It’s our collective vocation to develop our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness
Day 6: Kuumba-Creativity - It means to do all we can to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than how when we inherited it
Day 7: Imani-Faith - It means to believe with all our heart in our family, our teachers, our leaders, our people and the righteousness and victory of our struggle
In celebrating Kwanzaa, you can think of ways that you can practice the Nguzo Saba throughout the year.
Ways to celebrate
Check out these storytime events at AC Library:
- Adult Booklist Celebrate Kwanzaa | Alameda County Library | BiblioCommons
- Children’s Booklist Kwanzaa for Kids! | Alameda County Library | BiblioCommons