Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Umoja...Day of Unity

Happy Kwanzaa!!!

The Kwanzaa candles and harvest
Symbols of Kwanzaa
Today is the first day of Kwanzaa, an annual seven day cultural festival celebrating the African American people, their culture and their heritage.  Derived from the Swahili phrase "matunda ya kwanza" which means "first fruits", Kwanzaa has its roots in the ancient African first-fruit harvest celebrations. However, its modern history begins in 1966 when it was developed by Dr. Maulana Ron Karenga. Inspired by the civil rights struggles of the 1960's, Dr. Karenga conceived a holiday that would bring African Americans together in celebration of their black culture.  Each day of Kwanzaa represents the seven principles of Kwanzaa...the first is Umoja.

In the Symbols of Kwanzaa picture above, the cup is the Unity Cup or Kikombe cha Umoja, which is symbolic of the foundational principle and practice of unity which makes all else possible.

Umoja...Day of Unity

Umoja, pronounced "oo-MOE-jah", is a day of unity in which we are encouraged to strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race.  On Umoja, we are reminded that each member of the family, and by extension the community, is constituted by a web of interpersonal relationships. The health and possibilities of the family and community, therefore, is dependent upon the quality of relationship within the family and community.

Here is the link to the original Kwanzaa website:
Link to previous EH blogposts on Kwanzaa:

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