Kwanzaa .pdf

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Title: Kwanzaa

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all means all

what is kwanzaa?
Unlike Christmas, Ramadan or Hanukkah, Kwanzaa is
unaffiliated with a major religion. One of the newer American holidays, Kwanzaa originated in the turbulent 1960s to
instil racial pride and unity in the black community. Now,
fully recognized in mainstream America, Kwanzaa is widely
celebrated. In addition, former U.S. presidents Bill Clinton
and George W. Bush recognized the day while in office.
Established in 1966 by Ron Karenga, Kwanzaa aims to
reconnect black Americans to their African roots and
recognize their struggles as a people by building community. It is observed from 26 December to 1 January.
Derived from the Swahili term, “matunda ya kwanza,”
which means “first-fruits,” Kwanzaa is based on African
harvest celebrations such as the seven-day Umkhost of
During Kwanzaa celebrations, a mkeka (straw mat) rests
on a table covered by kente cloth, or another African
fabric. On top of the mkeka sits a kinara (candleholder) in
which the mishumaa saba (seven candles) go. The colours
of Kwanzaa are black for the people, red for their struggle,
and green for the future and hope that comes from their

26 Dec - 1 jan

Mazao (crops) and the kikombe cha umoja (the unity cup)
also sit on the mkeka. The unity cup is used to pour
tambiko (libation) in remembrance of ancestors. Lastly,
African art objects and books about the life and culture of
African people sit on the mat to symbolize commitment to
heritage and learning.

Opening the door to cultural discovery

This culture card forms part of a regular communications
from the CultureM team. If you would like more information
or to request a card for a holiday significant to you,
please email before the
relevent date of the holiday or event.

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