Saturday, December 26, 2009

Happy Kwanzaa


Often misunderstood, and more frequently simply not understood at all, Kwanzaa is a cultural rather than a religious holiday (the kind Bill O'Reilly would hate). Established in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga, a professor at Cal State Long Beach, the name Kwanzaa derives from the Swahili phrase matunda ya kwanza, meaning first fruits of the harvest. Its early history is somewhat controversial in certain circles, as it was rooted in the black nationalist movement of the 1960's and much of the doctrine surrounding it was considered "inflammatory" by many. But as it gained mainstream acceptance Dr. Karenga dialed back on the more militant aspects of the celebration. Similar to the menorah in construction if not symbolism, the seven candles in the kinara represent the seven principles of Kwanzaa: Unity, Self-Determination, Collective Work and Responsibility, Cooperative Economics, Purpose, Creativity, and Faith. If you're interested in learning more, there is actually an specifically for the holiday with all of the explanations you could ask for. I know virtually nothing more about it than what I've written here, but if you're celebrating, then welcome, and a Happy Kwanzaa to you.
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4 comments:

snowelf said...

I kinda had to chuckle at the Bill O'Reilly comment... ah...good times.

:)

--snow

Pouty Lips said...

I think I'll go check out the web site. I work with a Swahili man so I would like to know more.

Daryl said...

Ah Bill .. anything he would hate I would love

magiceye said...

that is so interesting!