Kwanzaa Begins Today: It’s All About Community

Dec 26, 2021 | PDA News

Maryam Ar-Raheem, African American elder and activist, for the PDA National Team


Lessons to be Learned from a
New Tradition


There are two African American cultural holidays in the United States, Juneteenth and Kwanzaa. Each recognizes the strength and resilience of African Americans.

How well do you know Kwanzaa?

In 1966, Dr. Maulana Karenga created Kwanzaa based on agricultural celebrations in Africa. Kwanzaa is from December 26 through January 1.

The activities of Kwanzaa are informed by ancient African views and values that reaffirm and reinforce family, community and culture. These views and values are demonstrated by the ingathering of the people, special reverence for the Creator and Creation, commemoration of the past, recommitment to our highest ideals, and celebration of the good.

Dr. Karenga created Kwanzaa to introduce and reinforce seven basic values of African culture that contribute to building and reinforcing community among African Americans as well as Africans throughout the global African community. These values are called the Nguzo Saba, a Swahili phrase for the Seven Principles.

The Nguzo Saba stands at the heart of the origin and meaning of Kwanzaa. The Seven Principles should serve as the building blocks for the community, as well as its social glue.

December 26 – Umoja (Unity)
To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation and the race.

December 27 – Kujichagulia (Self-determination)
To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves and speak for ourselves.

 December 28 – Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility)
To build and maintain our community together and to make our brothers’ and sisters’ problems our problems and to solve them together.

December 29 – Ujamaa – (Cooperative Economics)
To build and maintain our own stores, shops and other businesses and to profit from them together.

December 30 – Nia (Purpose)
To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to  restore our people to their traditional greatness.                                                

 December 31 – Kuumba (Creativity)
To do always as much as we can, in the way that we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.

January 1 – Imani (Faith)
To believe with all our hearts in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.  

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(let’s all pull together)