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Date:
December 26, 2023 - January 1, 2024
Time:
All Day
Address:
Everett, WA 98201

Kwanzaa

Tuesday, December 26, 2023


Kwanzaa, is an annual holiday affirming African family and social values that is celebrated primarily in the United States from December 26 to January 1. Both the name and the celebration were devised in 1966 by Maulana Karenga, a professor of Africana studies at California State University in Long Beach and an important figure in Afrocentrism. Karenga borrowed the word kwanza, meaning “first,” from the Swahili phrase matunda ya kwanza, adding the seventh letter, an extra a, to make the word long enough to accommodate one letter for each of the seven children present at an early celebration. (The name Kwanzaa is not itself a Swahili word.) The concept of Kwanzaa draws on Southern African first-fruits celebrations.

Although Kwanzaa is primarily an African American holiday, it has also come to be celebrated outside the United States, particularly in Caribbean and other countries where there are large numbers of descendants of Africans. It was conceived as a nonpolitical and nonreligious holiday, and it is not considered to be a substitute for Christmas.

The ideas and concepts of Kwanzaa are expressed in the Swahili language, one of the most widely spoken languages in Africa.

The seven principles which form its core were drawn from communitarian values found throughout the African continent. 

These principles are: 

  1. Umoja (Unity)
  2. Kujichagulia (Self-Determination)
  3. Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility)
  4. Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics)
  5. Nia (Purpose)
  6. Kuumba (Creativity)
  7. Imani (Faith)

Kwanzaa gets its name from the Swahili phrase, “matunda ya kwanza” and is rooted in first fruit celebrations which are found in cultures throughout Africa both in ancient and modern times.

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