Kuumba And Kwanzaa - A Celebration Of African History

A leader in civil rights, Ronald McKinley Everett otherwise known as Maulana Ndabezitha Karenga, helped devise a new national holiday for black Americans that were of African and Caribbean descent.

It starts gaining precedence at a time when black history and the entire black movement was reaching a pivotal peak in American history, in the 1960s and 1970s. Black Americans were searching for an identity and while it didn't capture the imagination of all residents, it has become a positive holiday experience for many with ancestral ties and for those it wasn't originally a concept for.

Christmas itself, while with Christian origins has a place in many people's hearts no matter their faith and blended with capitalism and commercialism offers all an opportunity to spend time with family and think of others. Kwanzaa was and is an attempt at giving Black Americans an alternative celebratory holiday period which enables them to recall their history, one of another land and not of their current country.

The seven principles of Kwanzaa were devised along the lines of heritage and supporting the black community and its continuance. Running in alignment with the traditional Christmas period, it should begin on 26th December to 1st January.

The principles are;
Umoja (Unity): To strive for and to maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.
Kujichagulia (Self-Determination): To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves.
Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility): To build and maintain our community together and make our brothers' and sisters' problems our problems, and to solve them together.
Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics): To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.
Nia (Purpose): To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
Kuumba (Creativity): 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.
Imani (Faith): To believe with all our hearts in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.

While Kwanzaa was an American invention which has a variety of followings, it is a cerebration which has been exported to other countries like that of Canada and the UK. The amount of people taking part depends on the source, some say 12 million in America, another 2 million.

Some people see the movement of Kwanzaa as a little too divisive but people take from the principles what they feel is appropriate. The end product is a positive experience and it is good to see cultures wishing to embrace the one in which they live as well as create interest in their more ancestral roots.