Today marks the beginning of Kwanzaa, a week-long annual celebration held in the United States and other nations of the African diaspora in the Americas to honor African heritage in African-American culture. It is observed from December 26 to January 1, culminating in gift-giving and a feast. (Source.)

Kwanzaa has seven core principles:

  • Umoja (Unity): To strive for and to maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.
  • Kujichagulia (Self-Determination): To define and name ourselves, as well as to create 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.

The textbook description of Kwanzaa may suffice for some, but for others who'd like to learn more or who'd like to join with others in this celebration, events are being held in Tuscaloosa.

For more than one body to take part in the celebration shows a number of the principles in action. Let's learn all seven and put them into practice to create a better community!