Why is Kwanzaa in December?

Why is Kwanzaa in December?

Kwanzaa arose in response to the Watts riots, which were in response to long-standing racial injustice in America. Dr. Maulana Karenga developed the festival to bring African Americans together as a community in a celebration of identity. He created seven days of rituals to teach blacks about their history and culture, and to allow them to express themselves through dance. The name "Kwanzaa" comes from a Bantu language word that means "first fruits." It was adopted by Dr. Karenga as the name for his new holiday because it represented the beginning of the harvest season on many African farms.

December 26 is the first day of Kwanzaa. Businesses change their advertising banners and website headers to include the phrase "Joyous Kwanzaa". Families gather together to eat traditional dishes like sweet potatoes and turkey and watch movies like Black Christmas and The Invasion. On the seventh day, people go back to work and school and continue with the lessons and traditions of Kwanzaa.

You may have heard that Kwanzaa is only used as a way for black people to celebrate their heritage, but this is not true. While many white people may associate Kwanzaa with black people, this is not necessary. Anybody can join in on the fun by reading about the lessons and traditions of Kwanzaa and having their own ceremony or party based off of it.

What is the Kwanzaa story?

Kwanzaa was founded in 1966 by Maulana Karenga, professor and chairman of Africana Studies at California State University. In reaction to the Watts Riots in Los Angeles in 1965, he established this holiday to bring African-Americans together as a community. The name "Kwanzaa" is derived from two Bantu words that mean "first fruits." They represent the idea that by observing Kwanzaa, individuals are honoring the spirit of their ancestors and preparing themselves for the coming year.

Karenga based the celebration on the traditional beliefs of his people, the Kikuyus, who honored the first fruit of the harvest with a festival they called "Omwakindo." He changed some details but kept the core concept of the festival: unity vs. division, happiness vs. sadness. Today, Kwanzaa is observed by Africans and others worldwide as a time to come together as a family unit or community vs. a period of solitude like Christmas.

Some changes were made by other leaders after Karenga left Africa Study Center in 1969. In 1976, John Henley replaced Karenga at the head of the organization. In 1990, Vaia Wilkins took over leadership from Henley and has been working to return Kwanzaa to its original purpose of helping African Americans deal with racism and oppression through education and culture.

Who is the founder of the Kwanzaa holiday?

Dr. Maulana Karenga, professor and chair of African Studies at California State University, Long Beach, invented Kwanzaa in 1966.

He did this to provide a positive cultural alternative to the often-negative celebrations associated with Christmas and New Year's Eve.

Karenga had been influenced by black power movements occurring in America at the time. They encouraged blacks to take control of their lives by learning more about their culture from those who knew it best. He decided to create his own version of a black power movement that would continue for one week every December.

He named it after the Swahili word for "thanks" because he wanted to show respect to its originators (African people) and their culture (kujicha).

Although he was born on January 4th, 1935, he described himself as an agnostic or atheist until he was 30 years old. At that point, he said he was visited by the Creator God who told him to develop his own way of celebrating Him which led to creation of Kwanzaa.

He first introduced Kwanzaa during a faculty meeting at his university. The following year, he organized a national Kwanzaa celebration for black Americans.

About Article Author

Trina Craig

Trina Craig has been in the home improvement industry for over 15 years. She loves reading about different ways to style a room, or what the best accessory is for any given piece of furniture. She also enjoys taking photos of her favorite finds so she can share them with readers!

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