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Happy Kwanzaa!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Filmmaker M.K. Asante, Jr. discusses The Black Candle narrated by Dr. Maya Angelou
and Winner / Best Documentary Africa World Documentary Film Festival on the CBS Early Show.
Kwanzaa is a non-religious African American holiday which celebrates family, community, and culture. It is celebrated for seven days from December 26 - January 1.  Each evening, a family member (usually the youngest child) lights candles in a special candleholder (kinara) and discusses one of the seven principles of Kwanzaa. On the sixth day, which falls on New Years Eve, family and friends get together to enjoy a large feast and to celebrate their history, culture, and the upcoming new year.  Kwanzaa was created by Dr. Maulana Karenga in 1966, during the period of US history in which African Americans were involved in struggles for their civil rights.  Dr. Karenga wanted to create a holiday that would bring African Americans together in celebration of their black culture. He was inspired by the "first fruit" or harvest festivals that were celebrated throughout Africa.  In fact the name he gave to the holiday, "Kwanzaa," comes from the Kiswahili phrase for "first fruit" - matunda ya kwanza. (Kiswahili, or Swahili, is the largest spoken language on the African continent and thus the language of Kwanzaa).  The Seven Principles (Nguzo Saba) of Kwanzaa are: Umoja (oo-MOH-jah): Unity.  Success starts with Unity. Unity of family, community, nation and race.  Kujichagulia (koo-jee-chah-goo-LEE-ah): Self-Determination.  To be responsible for ourselves. To create your own destiny.  Ujima (oo-JEE-mah): Collective work and responsibility.  To build and maintain your community together. To work together to help one another within your community.  Ujamaa (oo-jah-MAH): Collective economics.  To build, maintain, and support our own stores, establishments, and businesses.  Nia (NEE-ah): Purpose.  To restore African American people to their traditional greatness. To be responsible to Those Who Came Before (our ancestors) and to Those Who Will Follow (our descendants).  Kuumba (koo-OOM-bah): Creativity.  Using creativity and imagination to make your communities better than what you inherited.  Imani (ee-MAH-nee): Faith.  Believing in our people, our families, our educators, our leaders, and the righteousness of the African American struggle.  [Source:]



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