Saturday, December 08, 2007

Kwanzaa Candle Lighting

Kwanzaa Candle LightingTech. Sgt. Jennifer Myers, 66th Air Base Wing noncommissioned officer in charge of the Military Equal Opportunity office, demonstrates a Kwanzaa ritual where she lights a candle in the Kinara. photo by Christopher Myers.
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Kwanzaa From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Kwanzaa (or Kwaanza) is a week-long Pan-African festival primarily honoring African-American heritage. It is observed from December 26 to January 1 each year, almost exclusively in the United States of America.

Kwanzaa consists of seven days of celebration, featuring activities such as candle-lighting and pouring of libations, and culminating in a feast and gift-giving. It was created by Ron Karenga, and first celebrated from December 26, 1966, to January 1, 1967. Karenga calls Kwanzaa the African American branch of "first fruits" celebrations of classical African cultures.

In 1966 Ron Karenga created Kwanzaa while living in California. There, he was the leader of the black nationalist US Organization and he claims that his goal was to give an alternative holiday to Christmas. He later stated, " was chosen to give a Black alternative to the existing holiday and give Blacks an opportunity to celebrate themselves and history, rather than simply imitate the practice of the dominant society. At the time he created Kwanzaa, he changed his last name from Everett to the Gikuyu "Karenga", shaved his head, and began wearing traditional African clothing.

The name Kwanzaa derives from the Swahili phrase "matunda ya kwanza", meaning "first fruits". The choice of Swahili, an East African language, reflects its status as a symbol of Pan-Africanism, especially in the 1960s, though most African-Americans have West African ancestry.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article, Kwanzaa

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