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what is Kwanzaa?

Habari Gani, fren! growing up you may have heard of Kwanzaa, but never celebrated or was told what it was really about. but you know we got you! we’re breakin’ down what Kwanzaa is and how to celebrate this year. 

what is Kwanzaa? 

Kwanzaa is a celebration of Black culture, history, and community. the name of the celebration is derived from the phase “matunda ya kwanza,” which means “first fruits” in Swahili (an African language). 

Kwanzaa is a non-religious holiday and can be celebrated in tandem with Christmas and Hanukkah. 

Kwanzaa was created in 1966 by Maulana Ron Karenga and is centered around 7 principles: Umoja (Unity), Kujichagulia (Self-Determination), Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity), and Imani (Faith).

how to celebrate?

are you feelin’ the meaning of Kwanzaa? us too, fren! lets get into some traditional practices and ways to celebrate the holiday.

on each day of Kwanzaa, a candle is lit for that day’s principle on the Kinara (candleholder). the candles will be black, red, and green, which represent our people, our struggle, and our hope.  

communities usually gather to take part in various activities such as reciting poetry or writing from black creatives, taking part in African drumming, or sharing a meal together. people also, greet each other saying “habari gani” which means “whats the news” in Swahili”.

 

here are some ways to celebrate each day
    • Umoja (Unity):  on the first day of Kwanzaa it is so important remember the importance of striving and maintaining within your family and community. some ways to practice unity is to volunteer in your community or extend kindness to a stranger to let them know they are not alone. 
    • Kujichagulia (Self-Determination): it is time to define yourself, for yourself, create for yourself, and speak for yourself. you can celebrate Kujichagulia by saying no to things that don’t serve you, your kinks, and your community. 
    • Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility): on this day, take time to build with your community. find a project that you and your family can do together like cooking or remodeling your bathroom. either way, you and your fam should be working together to accomplish a goal. 
    • Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics):  Ujamaa is all about keeping the black dollar circulating in our neighborhoods. you can bank at Black- owned banks or shop at Black-owned businesses. and you know you have to cop the NEW limited-edition 4C ONLY Protect Ya Peace Bundle (an exclusive bundle for the week of Kwanzaa).
    • Nia (Purpose): this is a great time to focus on community and outreach. use this day to set goals that will benefit your community. 
    • Kuumba (Creativity): Kuumba is not only looking at your creativity in the sense of the arts, but also what you will create for your community. take time to think about what and how you will leave your community. 
    • Imani (Faith): this is often a day of reflection and gathering. take a pledge to believe in yourself and your community. 

Kwanzaa is a beautiful holiday that is all about uplifting us and our people. this year, 4C ONLY will be celebrating Kwanzaa starting on Dec.26th and we want you to join us, fren! whether you’re new to celebrating Kwanzaa or an OG, what is one thing you’re going to do to celebrate? let us know in the comments. 

 

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