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Exploring Womanhood > Heart of the Home > Holidays & Seasons > Kwanzaa

Learn the Meaning of Kwanzaa
From FeatureSource

Kwanzaa was first celebrated in 1966 and it was a series of principles that bring about awareness to mankind about unity and cooperative living. This was primarily created for African Americans to come into a consciousness, which reaffirms and restores African American Culture and to introduce values for living.

When we look at society as a whole, values are the things that govern the life of a community. Laws are based more on morals and beliefs so here we are going to look at some principles that seem to be an exodus out of a dilemma for a community, which appears to be in crises.

Kwanzaa introduce seven basic principles, which are
   1. Umoja
   2. Kujichagulia
   3. Ujima
   4. Ujama
   5. Nia
   6. Kuumba
   7. Imani

Ujoma means to strive and maintain unity in the family community and race. When you have a community that does not have unity you will find that there is no community. For the word community should represent Common - Unity. Looking at the community it is important to understand what builds a community. You see a Strong Man produces a Strong Family, a Strong Family produces a Strong Church and a Strong Church will build a Strong Community and finally a Strong Community will build a Strong Nation. A nation is only as strong as its weakest community.

Kujichagulia means self-determination. This is a principle that helps one to define oneself. If you cannot name yourself then you are still a child, which means you are given an allowance instead of determining your income. You still don't have the ability to create for yourself and speak for yourself. Until you come of age mentally to speak for yourself other people are defining you and this will always keep you as a victim in life.

Ujima means collective work and responsibility. This principle helps you to build and maintain community together. Here is where you make your brothers and sisters problems our problems and together solve them. This is where you work as a team. This word T - E- A- M: could be looked at as an acronym Together Each Achieving Mastery.

Ujamaa means cooperative economic. Without economics you are a slave. You cannot have liberation without wealth. Some would say money is not everything but we know that freedom is everything and money buys you freedom. Cooperative Economics is a principle needed in a community so one can maintain stores, shops, other businesses and profit from them together.

Nia means purpose. A person without a purpose is lost in life. Here is where you make a collective vocation of building and developing community. When you are not in the center of your purpose you will find that you are now centered in weakness. Understanding this we discover that weak people make you weak. When you find your purpose you will restore our people to their traditional greatness.

Kuumba means creativity. Either you are a creator or a creature. Creators think creatures move by instinct. In community there must be a body of thinkers that can come up with ideas to make something or someone more beautiful and beneficial than the way you have inherited it.

Imani means faith. This is where we understand that we become aware of our teachers, leaders, parents the very root of our existence. The very principles that are taught by our mentor are designed to bring us from struggle into victory. Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.

Kwanzaa is the first fruit. Its focus is on traditional African values of family, community, responsibility, commerce and self-improvement. It is not political nor is it religious. It is created as a ritual for the harvest time. All early civilization recognized a higher power for the harvest, which was given to them for the year. It would be the harvest, which would particularly sustain them for the winter season.

Kwanzaa created the last week of the year from December 26 - January 1. It does not in any way take anything away from Christmas, which is the birth of Christ. If anything it highlights the principles that Jesus teaches us. He shares you shall know the truth and truth shall make you free. You are only as free as the truth that you know and understand.

The Kwanzaa celebration is a time when they light a series of candles. The candles are red, black and green. The seven candles symbolize the seven basic values of African American life. Part of the holiday is spent in teaching children about their heritage and paying tribute to the past.

When individuals start to discover what makes wealth they will remain enslaved to systems of ignorance that exist in their own minds. I believe the principles of unity plus economics will bring liberation to mankind.

Author: Bishop Bernard Jordan

Author: FeatureSource

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