Kwanzaa is a seven day long African traditional festival in the USA. The Africans, living in the US celebrate this festival to make the heritage of rich African cultural heritage alive.
This festival starts on December 26 and it ends on January 1 each year. As mentioned earlier, each of the seven days is marked with a principle. Each of these seven days of Kwanzaa is observed after different principles. Given below are the principles of Kwanzaa:
- Umoja or Unity: First day of Kwanzaa
- Kujichagulia or Self-Determination: Second day of Kwanzaa
- Ujima or Collective Work and Responsibility: Third day of Kwanzaa
- Ujamaa or Cooperative Economics: Fourth day of Kwanzaa
- Nia or Purpose: Fifth day of Kwanzaa
- Kuumba or Creativity: Sixth day of Kwanzaa
- Imani or Faith: Seventh day of Kwanzaa
The seven days of Kwanzaa are celebrated after different rituals and each day has special significance on the observance of the festival. The detailed description on the activities of the seven days of Kwanzaa, are mentioned below:
- Umoja or Unity: Kinara is the traditional setting of Kwanzaa. On the first day of the festival, people decorate the kinara with black candles, which symbolize the first principle of Kwanzaa, namely, unity. The member of the family, who lights the candle make one statement of the principle. The Unity Cup or Umoja is filled with the fruit juice, which is distributed among all the members and guests. In some families, each Umoja is presented to each member. The Umoja is left at the corner of the table after drinking. After Umoja, the candles are put out.
- Kujichagulia or Self-Determination: The used black candle is lit on the second day along with the red candle at the extreme left. This setting represents the second principle of Kwanzaa, namely Self-Determination. Ideally, people read poems on that orinciple and also state how these poems are related to their life. After drinking the fruit juice, they put out the candles for the day.
- Ujima or Collective Work and Responsibility: The black candle is again lit on the third day, followed by the red candle on the farthest left and green candle on the farthest right. This setting symbolizes the third principle of the festival, collective work and responsibility. The members of the family discuss about this principle and its validity on their lives. After sharing the Unity cup or Umoja, they extinguish the candles.
- Ujamaa or Cooperative Economics: On the 4th day, the Black candle is lit, followed by the red candle on left, green on right, and red candle next to the farthest red candle. This candle setting represents the fourth principle of Kwanzaa, the collective economics. The family members discuss on the fourth principle and then they share the Unity cup and put off the candles.
- Nia or Purpose: On the 5th day, the black candle is lit, followed by the same pattern. This time, the green candle next to the farthest green candle is lit. After discussing the fifth principle of Kwanzaa, all the family members share the Unity Cup and put the candles out.
- Kuumba or Creativity: Kuumba is observed on 31st January. The candles are lit. People invite their friends to their house in order to join in the festival. They decorate their houses, dress in traditional cloths, reads poems, and listen to African music. There is a unique tradition of asking the guests to bring some dishes to the invitation. Everyone takes his or her drink and after that, the candles are put out.
- Imani or Faith: On the seventh day, all the seven candles are lit. After discussing the values of the principle, the family members share the unity Cup with the guests. All the candles are extinguished and this marks the official closing of Kwanzaa festival.