Kwanzaa has been a tradition celebrated in certain pockets of the Black Diaspora for 45 years since it was cccreated by Dr. Maulana Karenga in 1966 and has recently began making strides in the mainstream in the form of commercially available Kwanzaa decorations, greeting cards, and television appearances.
The non-religious Holiday, whose name is translated from Swahili as "First Fruits", celebrates 7 positive principles upon which true cccommunity can be built. On the Kwanzaa table, there are 7 symbols with certain meanings such as the mkeka (mat) that represents the foundation upon which the principles, represented on the table by 7 candles (mishumaa saba), stand.
Each night, one candle is lit with the family, beginning Dec. 26 with Umoja (Unity) and Ending January 1st with Imani (Faith). Candles are often lit by the family's children (represented by cornstalks called muhindi on the Kwanzaa table), who recite the principle for that evening and its meaning.
When we hear Zayd Malik's "Happy Kwanzaa" song, Self-Determination and CCCreativity come to mind, two principles of Kwanzaa that are celebrated as Kujichagulia and Kuumba on the 2nd and 6th nights of Kwanzaa.
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