Kwanzaa Celebrates Family and Unity

December 22, 2000

Source: Star Tribune

On December 22, 2000, the Star Tribune reported that Kwanzaa, created by Dr. Maulana Karenga in 1966 as "as a time for black families to focus on community responsibility, commerce and self-improvement; 34 years later, the New York Times reports, it is observed by 15 million people worldwide." Modelled after first fruits festivals in Africa, Kwanzaa includes a focus on gathering together and introspection. Kwanzaa is not a religious holiday, but it allows people to feel the spirit of the season and the new year. "Kwanzaa is based on nguzo saba (seven principles). There is a principle for each day: umoja (unity), kujichagulia (self-determination), ujima (cooperative economics), nia (purpose), kuumba (creativity) and imani (faith). In the Kwanzaa kinara (candle holder), there are seven candles, each representing a principle. Each evening, one candle is lit and its corresponding principle discussed, with emphasis on how best to apply it to daily living."