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Kwanzaa, An African-American Celebration of Culture and Cooking

Kwanzaa Celebration

About.com Rating 5 Star Rating


A great cookbook with recipes and information about Kwanzaa, by Eric V. Copage. Thanks to Marilyn Helton for sharing this review.

About Kwanzaa

Kwanzaa is an African-American holiday which is held from December 26th through January 1st, and climaxes with a glorious feast. It was started in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga, Professor at the California State University, Long Beach, California. Karenga wished to emphasize that black Americans come from many parts of Africa, so he brought together elements from many African harvest festivals to create Kwanzaa, a unique celebration that is now observed in some way by more than 5 million Americans.

Seven Principles

On each day of Kwanzaa, a family member lights a candle, then discusses one of the following seven principles of African-American unity:

Umoja (Unity)
Kujichagulia (Self-determination)
Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility)
Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics)
Nia (Purpose)
Kuumba (Creativity)
Imani (Faith)

The Feast

The next-to-last day of the holiday, December 31, is marked by a lavish feast, the Kwanzaa Karamu, which, in keeping with the theme of black unity, may draw on the cuisines of the Caribbean, Africa, South America...wherever Africans were taken. In addition to food, the Karamu is an opportunity for a confetti storm of cultural expression, dance and music, readings, and remembrances.
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