Capturing the season spirit is the celebration of Kwanzaa, a seven day holiday that begins the day after Christmas. Once celebrated primarily by black nationalists, it is moving into the black American mainstream and also is observed in Canada, England, and many African nations. Based on African winter harvest festivals, Kwanzaa--which means "first fruits" in Swahili--celebrates African heritage. Created in 1966 by Maulana Karenga, chairman of the black studies department at California State University at Long Beach, Kwanzaa reaffirms rootedness in African culture and the bonds between them as a people. It is built on seven principles: "umoja" means unity, "kujichagulla" means self-determination, "ujima" means collective work and responsibility, "ujamaa" means cooperative economics, "nia" means purpose, "kuumba" means creativity, "imani" means faith. On each night of Kwanzaa one of several candles in a holder are lit. Gifts, preferably educational ones that are handmade, are exchanged.
Max Kade German-American Center
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