Reflects on the meaning of Kwanzaa
Published 5:10 pm, Wednesday, December 18, 2013
To the Editor:
Celebrated from Dec. 26 through Jan. 1, Kwanzaa is a uniquely African-American holiday begun in Los Angeles by Dr. Maulana Karenga, the chairman of the black studies department at the University of California.
Kwanzaa is adopted from the Iskwahili words Matunda Ya Kwanza, meaning first fruits, acknowledging its roots in the traditional harvest celebration in Africa.
It is a non-political, non-religious, non-historic holiday meant to emphasize the connection with African culture while recognizing the unique history of African-Americans.
Every aspect of Kwanzaa is imbued with ritual meaning.
The holiday takes place over seven days, and seven symbols are used to represent its tenets, and the holiday is ordered by the Nguzo Saba, or seven principles.