Greetings everyone. We are going to learn about KWANZAA which starts today, like every year, December the 26th.
Kwanzaa means « first fruits » in Swahili, the most spoken language in Afrika. It is celebrated for more than fifty years. It is based on our African ancestors celebrations at harvest time.
This is the opportunity to gather together as family and friends in order to honor our ancestors and to celebrate the nature and our values.
Kwanzaa lasts 7 days, till January 1st. There is a principle and a candle for each day.
There are three colors for the candles :
- 3 red candles
- 1 black candle
- 3 green candles
These are Pan-African colors.
Symbolically, the youngest family member lights the first candle.
Day one is for Unity, « Umoja » in Swahili. When we are united we are stronger !
Day two allows us to check on our personal determination, « Kujichagulia », in order to serve the community
Day three is for collective work, « Ujima », and responsibility. We need to work together in solidarity !
« Ujamaa » (economic cooperation) is celebrated during day four. We have to build and grow our own companies, our own businesses, for each community member to live decently.
Day five is for our purpose, « Nia » in Swahili. We can ask ourselves how much we value our lives, what are their meaning and their purpose ?
Day six encourages us to think about our individual talent, our imagination and our creativity, « Kuumba ». How to use them for the sake of our community ?
Finally, last day of Kwanzaa : « Imani », Faith ! This principle reminds us that we need to have self confidence, to trust ourselves, to trust our ancestors, our families and our community in order to face life challenges and difficulties.
At the end of the week of Kwanzaa, we can give presents to each other to enclose these days of reflexion, sharing and solidarity.
Have a great week celebrating Kwanzaa !!
Article by Babatunde Diagne.
Illustration by Alain Kojele.