The Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Celebrates Kwanzaa

Posted by Carleigh Blaylock
The Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion has celebrated Kwanzaa on their social media by walking through each of the 7 days & principles. The Office of DEI wants to honor all those who celebrate Kwanzaa & celebrate with you. Please read on to learn more about the 7 principles of Kwanzaa.

Kwanzaa was first celebrated in 1966 and was created by Maulana Karenga. Kwanzaa is based on African harvest festival traditions from various parts of Africa, including West Africa & Southeast Africa. and has been celebrated annually from December 26 to January 1. On each day a certain principle is celebrated and the celebration culminates in a communal feast called Karamu. Each day is marked by the lighting of a candle held in a candle holder called an Kinara. 

The Principles of Kwanzaa are as follows:

1. Day one celebrates Umoja (Unity): To strive for and to maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race. The symbol for the day is the Dagi knot which is a Pan African symbol of unity found in several African cultures, i.e., Yoruba, Hausa, Bushongo, etc.

2. Day two celebrates Kujichagulia (Self-Determination): To define and name ourselves, as well as to create and speak for ourselves. The symbol for the day is the Ahenwa or the Akan throne, symbol of national identity, cultural groundedness and rightful governance.

3. Day three celebrates 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. The symbol for the day is the Akoma ntoaso which is the Adinkra symbol of shared effort and obligation.

4. Day four celebrates Ujamaa (Cooperative economics): To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together. The symbol for this day is two interlocking half circles which is the Nsibidi symbol of togetherness and family.

5. Day five celebrates Nia (Purpose): To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness. The symbol for this day is the hieroglyph Nefer which is an Ancient Egyptian symbol of beauty and good.

6. Day six celebrates 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. The symbol for the day is the seven vibrations of divine creation which is the Dogon symbol of creativity.

7. Day seven celebrates 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. The symbol for the day is the ancient Egyptian double symbol of the ankh (life) and djed pillar (stability, endurance) serves here as a symbol of steadfastness in commitment to the Good, the Right, and the Beautiful in life.

If you are interested in learning more, you will find resources here

Although we were not able to celebrate Kwanzaa together this year, we look forward to celebrating together in future years. Happy Kwanzaa. 

  • Kwanzaa Photo

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