IGNIS Winter 2017-2018 - Page 15

IGNIS Young Reporter Kwanzaa, another winter holiday around the time of the solstice, is observed by West Africans in the USA, beginning on December 26th and ending on January 1st. It was created in 1966 as a celebration of family, community and culture and is celebrated with flags, music and candles culminating in a feast and gift giving. Its name means ‘first fruits’ in Swahili (the most widely spoken pan-African language) which refers to the ancient first fruits tradition of a religious off ering of the first agricultural produce of the harvest. Kwanzaa is a cultural holiday, open to all religions and builds on the five core activities of the first fruit celebrations: ➽ Ingathering of the people ➽ Reverence for God ➽ Commemoration of the past ➽ Celebration of all things good (i.e. existence itself, family and the divine, natural and social) These activities then promote the seven principles of African heritage: ➽ Umoja (unity) ➽ Kujichagulia (self-determination) ➽ Ujima (collective work and responsibility) ➽ Ujamaa (cooperative economics) ➽ Nia (purpose) ➽ Kuumba (creativity) ➽ Imani (faith) ➽ Recommitment to cultural ideals IGNIS 15