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Last week, we explored the Jewish holiday, Hanukkah, in an effort to learn more about the different holidays being celebrated during the month of December. Today, we move on to the next holiday called Kwanzaa.
Kwanzaa is quite different from both Christmas and Hanukkah because it doesn’t have a religious background; instead it is a celebration of culture.
California State University professor, Dr. Maulana Karenga, created the holiday is 1966 to encourage the indispensable need to “preserve, protect, continually revitalize and promote African American culture.” (The first part sounds awfully familiar to us.)
Kwanzaa takes place from December 26 to January 1 each year. The names comes from the Swahili phrase, “matunda ya kwanzaa” which means “first fruits.” The first-fruits was a celebration that date back to societies in ancient Egypt and Nubia. Everyone would come together in reverence to commemorate, recommit and celebrate their culture.
The celebration is built on 7 principles:
- Unity (Umoja) – to strive for and maintain unity in family, community, nation and race.
- Self-Determination (Kujichagulia) – to define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves and speak for ourselves
- Collective Work and Responsibility (Ujima) – to build and maintain our community together and to make our brother’s and sister’s problems our problems and to solve them together
- Cooperative Economics (Ujamaa) – to build and maintain our own stores, shops and other businesses and to profit from them together
- Purpose (Nia) – to make own collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to traditional greatness
- Greatness (Kuumba) – to do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it
- Faith (Imani) – to believe with our heart in our people, our parents, our leaders and the righteousness and victory of our struggle
Throughout the week of Kwanzaa, African Americans come together to celebrate with a profound respect for its values, symbols and practices. They dress up in festive clothing, decorate with beautiful art and cloths and feast on fresh fruits and vegetables.
As we were learning more about Kwanzaa, we couldn’t help but notice the similarities between the celebration and our own organization as well as an importance of culture.
Certainly we can all agree that these are special projects that we can be proud of and want to ensure we can continue to provide for future generations. The Lions Pride Endowment Fund is “Today’s Help, Tomorrow’s Hope” for all those served by Lions Camp and all WLF statewide projects.
This holiday season, we hope that you keep your own culture in mind and be inspired to preserve, protect and provide for others though a donation to Lions Pride.
Happy Holidays from Lions Pride!