The History of Kwanzaa

Nneka Iweanya

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There are many different holidays that are coming up this festive month, such as Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa.  Most people are very familiar with the common holidays like Christmas and Hanukkah, which are the most popular, and have been for a long time.

Christmas is the Christian holiday celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, the son of God. The first Christmas was recorded in the year 336, and has been a worldwide holiday ever since. Hanukkah, however, is the Jewish eight day holiday that celebrates the rise against the Greek-Syrian oppressors in the Maccabean revolt.

Kwanzaa is somewhat unknown, compared to these other holidays. Kwanzaa is a week-long celebration of African heritage, culture, and unity. The celebration will start on Tuesday, December 26 and will end on Monday, January 1, 2018. Most African Americans don’t celebrate this holiday because they are unaware that there is  a holiday celebrating their culture and heritage. Those who do celebrate Kwanzaa, however, have great pride in the festivities. Families decorate their homes with bright colors and wear traditional African clothing. Fresh fruit is provided, which represents African idealism. The ceremony may include drumming and musical selections, libations, a reading of the African Pledge. The Principles of Blackness, reflection on the pan-African colors, a discussion of the African principle of the day or a chapter in African history, a candle-lighting ritual, artistic performance, and, finally, a feast (karamu). This holiday is very enjoyable and immersed in African culture. It allows children to get more in touch with their roots and experience their culture as it was before they were Americanized.

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The History of Kwanzaa