Kwanzaa is a celebration of African American culture observed each year from December 26 to January 1.
The seven principles of Kwanzaa are called the Nguzo Saba (n-GU-zoo SAH-bah). They were drawn from communitarian values found throughout the African continent. During the week of Kwanzaa, families, and communities come together to share in a healthy feast, honor their ancestors, affirm bonds, and celebrate African American culture. Each day, a candle is lit to highlight the principle of that day. Meaning is brought to the principles through various activities, such as reciting sayings of great Black thinkers, reciting original poetry, African drumming, and dressing the table with Kwanzaa symbols.*
UMOJA (OO-MO-JAH) UNITY: To strive for and maintain unity in the family,
community, nation, and people
KUJICHAGULIA (KOO-JEE-CHAH-GOO-LEE-AH) SELF-DETERMINATION:
To define and name ourselves, as well as to create and speak for ourselves
UJIMA (OO-JEE-MAH) COLLECTIVE WORK & RESPONSIBILITY: To build
and maintain our community together and make our brothers’ and sisters’
problems our problems and to solve them together
UJAMAA (OO-JAH-MAH) COOPERATIVE ECONOMICS: To build and
maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them
NIA (NEE-AH) PURPOSE: To make our collective vocation the building and
developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional
KUUMBA (KOO-OOM-BAH) 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.
IMANI (EE-MAH-NEE) FAITH: To believe with all our hearts in our people, our
parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our
*From Kwanza: A Celebration Resource from the Division of Homeland Missions
For More Information
Kwanza: A Celebration Resource from the Division of Homeland Missions
Official Kwanzaa Website
The People Remembered by Ibi Zoboi From the cover: The People Remember tells the journey of African descendants in America by connecting their history to the seven principles of Kwanzaa.