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Fun Facts on Kwanzaa

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Did You Know?
Did you know that the language used during the Kwanzaa festival is Swahili? Did you know that when drinking from the symbolic communal cup the word "harambee" is said, which means "let's pull together"? Read the facts sheet to discover interesting information and trivia about this fascinating holiday

Fun Fact 1: What is Kwanzaa? Kwanzaa can be defined as a celebration of African and African-American Culture, Heritage and unity.

Fun Fact 2: When is Kwanzaa? Kwanzaa celebrations last 7 days; the celebrations last from December 26 until January 1

Fun Fact 3: The Kwanzaa Holiday was founded in 1966 by African-American professor and author of Africana Studies, Maulana Ndabezitha Karenga

Fun Fact 4: The holiday was created to honor the principles of ancient African cultures and reconnect African Americans to heritage and traditions

Fun Fact 5: Kwanzaa was based on the original traditional African harvest festivals. The name Kwanzaa comes from the expression "matunda ya kwanza," which translated means "first fruits of the harvest"

Fun Fact 6: The festival is built on seven principles of African Heritage called "Nguzo Saba". The principles are believed to be the foundations to building strong, successful families, neighbourhoods and communities

Fun Fact 7: Each of the seven days of the holiday represents one of the seven principles of African Heritage

Fun Fact 8: The seven principles of African Heritage are; UMOJA - to maintain unity in the family and community. KUJICHAGULIA - to be self determined; act and speak to benefit yourself and others. UJIMA - to care, support and work together in the community. UJAMAA - to help and support businesses together as in the community. NIA - to build the community with purpose and set goals to develop growth. KUUMBA - to creatively enrich the community. IMANI - To have faith in the community and the people within it

Fun Fact 9: The seven principles of African Heritage are represented by seven symbols. The picture above depicts the seven symbols of Kwanzaa

Fun Fact 10: The seven symbols consist of; the MKEKA - a Mat, the foundation to build. The KINARA - a Candle Holder, symbolic of family and roots. MISHUMAA SABA - seven candles representing the seven principles. MUHINDI - corn, symbolic of children and future. MAZAO - food symbolic of traditional African harvest celebrations. KIKIMBE CHA UMOJA - a communal cup, for honoring African ancestors. ZAWADI - symbolic of love between parents and children

Fun Fact 11: The seven candle symbol (Mishumaa saba) represents the seven Kwanzaa principles. Traditionally there are three green candles and three red candles either side of a central black candle

Fun Fact 12: On each day of the Kwanzaa Holiday a new symbolic candle is lit

Fun Fact 13: There are two supplemental symbols: BENDERA - a flag and NGUZO SABA POSTER a poster, both of these items represent all seven symbols of the seven principles

Fun Fact 14: The Kwanzaa flag and candles consist of three colors - black, red and green. Each color represents meanings; black represents the people, red represents the struggle of the people, and green represents hope

Fun Fact 15: On the last day of the holiday, December 31, a celebratory feast (called KARAMU) is held and cultural gifts exchanged, the celebration marks the end of the Kwanzaa celebrations

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