With its official start, celebrated the day after Christmas, Kwanzaa has come a long way since its inception in 1966. Founded by Dr. Maulana Karenga, Kwanzaa strives to bring African-American community, and the community at large, in an annual celebration that focuses more on the bond between the family and community.
Highlighted by 7 principles formally known as the The Nguzo Saba, Kwanzaa leads right into the end of the year New Year's celebration. The holiday serves as a time of reflection and celebration of kinship.
The Nguzo Saba
- Umoja (unity)
- Kujichagulia (self-determination)
- Ujima (collective work and responsibility)
- Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics)
- Nia (purpose)
- Kuumba (Creativity)
- Imani (faith)
I first celebrated Kwanzaa in 1984, my first semester in college. Since school lets out before December 26, most campus celebrations occur before Finals Week. Each year more students first become aware of Kwanzaa and its importance and as such the holiday has gone to more prominence. Those who participate in the Kwanzaa celebration normally place a great emphasis on family, community and culture. Because of this, I welcome everyone from all cultures to celebrate and participate in the Kwanzaa celebration.