Kwanzaa is a week-long celebration honoring African heritage in African-American culture and is observed from December 26 to January 1. The week-long celebration culminates with a feast and gift-giving event. Kwanzaa has seven core principles (Nguzo Saba) consisting of what Karenga called “the best of African thought and practice in constant exchange with the world.”:
- Umoja (Unity): to strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.
- Kujichagulia (Self-Determination): to define and name yourself, as well as to create and speak for yourself.
- Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility): to build and maintain the community together and to share community problems and to solve them together.
- Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics): to build and maintain stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.
- Nia (Purpose): to make the collective vocation the building and developing of the community in order to restore people to their traditional greatness.
- Kuumba (Creativity): to do always as much as possible, in any way possible, in order to leave the community more beautiful and beneficial than it was inherited.
- Imani (Faith): to believe with all hearts in the people, parents, teachers, leaders, and the righteousness and victory of the struggle.
Families celebrating Kwanzaa decorate their households with objects of art, colorful African cloth, and fresh fruits that represent African idealism. It is customary to include children in Kwanzaa ceremonies and to give respect and gratitude to ancestors. The holiday greeting is “Joyous Kwanzaa”.
Geary County Schools USD 475 wishes everyone a Joyous Kwanzaa this year!