Established by Maulana Karenga, Kwanzaa is a seven-day festival in the US (December 26 to January 1) aimed at strengthening African-American culture and heritage. The celebration culminates in a feast where gift-giving usually takes place.
Asked in Holidays and Traditions, Clothing, Kwanzaa
What type of clothing does people wear on Kwanzaa?
When did Kwanzaa become a week long holiday honoring African heritage?
Asked in Holidays and Traditions, Kwanzaa
What is La Fiesta De San Fermin?
How long is the useful life of exterior paint on a commercial building?
Asked in Holidays and Traditions, Judaism, Kwanzaa
What holidays do Jews celebrate?
Many of these holidays are found in Leviticus ch.23. Other occasions are more recent; specifically Purim (2375 years), Hanukkah (2200 years), and the fasts marking the Destruction of the Temple (Zechariah 7:3 and 8:19).The holidays begin at sunset and last until after nightfall around 25 hours later. They serve to enrich the Jewish year and to connect the people with their past. All of these days are marked by added prayers and Torah-readings; and each has its specific observances. Shabbat - every Saturday (from Friday at sunset until Saturday after twilight) Link: More about Shabbat Rosh Hashanah - the Jewish New Year, 2 days Link: More about Rosh Hashanah Yom Kippur - a fast day, the Day of Atonement, 1 day Link: More about Yom Kippur Pesach - Passover - 7 or 8 days Link: Passover and the Seder Shavuot - Feast of Weeks; Yom HaBikurim - 1 or 2 days Sukkot - Feast of Booths - 7 days Link: More about Sukkot Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah - 1 or 2 days Minor holidays and occasions (in which work is not forbidden): Rosh Chodesh - the new moon, every 29 or 30 days Link: The Hebrew calendar Hanukkah - the Festival of Lights - 8 days Link: The founding of Hanukkah Tu Bishvat - New Year of the Trees - 1 day Purim - 1 day, followed by 1 day of Shushan Purim Link: Purim and Queen Esther Sefirah - Counting of the Omer - 49 days Lag Ba'omer - 1 day Link: What is Lag Ba'omer The Three Weeks and the Nine Days (days of mourning preceding Tisha b'Av; see below) Tu B'Av - 1 day Fast days: Judaism has six yearly fasts. The fasts start shortly before dawn and end at twilight, except for Yom Kippur and Tisha B'Av which start the evening before at sunset and last for 25 hours. Tzom Gedalya; the day after Rosh Hashanah Asara B'Tevet - 10th of the month of Tevet Shiva Asar B'Tamuz - 17th of Tamuz Tisha B'Av - 9th of the month of Av Ta'anit Esther - the day before Purim Yom Kippur Four of the above fasts are in mourning for various stages in the destruction of the Temple, and are mentioned in Zechariah 8:19. Link: The destruction The Fast of Esther commemorates the danger that the Jews were in, during the events described in the Book of Esther. The sixth fast, Yom Kippur, is the Day of Atonement, commanded in Leviticus 23:26-32. Each festival has its specific purpose and laws: Rosh Chodesh marks the beginning of each Hebrew month (all of which are lunar) and is a minor holiday. On Rosh Hashanah, the shofar (ram's horn) is blown, to mark the beginning of the Jewish year. Yom Kippur is a fast day on which Jews pray for forgiveness for all their sins. No eating, drinking, or bathing is allowed. Wearing leather shoes is also prohibited. On Pesach, leavened bread, cakes, pasta etc. are forbidden; and unleavened Matzah is eaten. Passover begins with the Seder-meal, commemorating and retelling the story of the Exodus. Matzah and ceremonial foods are eaten at the Seder. On Shavuot the custom is to stay up all night studying Torah to mark the date that God gave the Ten Commandments. Sefirah - In the weeks between Pesach and Shavuot, we count the Omer, symbolizing the anticipation we felt in the days leading up to the Revelation at Mount Sinai. These weeks are a time of introspection and improvement. On Sukkot, Jews eat all their meals in outdoor arbor-canopied booths (Sukkah) in order to commemorate the Israelites' wanderings in the desert. Some will also sleep in the Sukkah. During the morning prayers on these days, we take the 4 minim consisting of a Lulav (young palm branch), an Etrog (Citrus Medica; citron), three Haddassim (myrtle branches) and two Aravot (willow branches). Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah - In Israel, these two occasions are observed on the same day (the eighth day from the beginning of Sukkot), while elsewhere they are kept separately (on the eighth and ninth days). This is a time of great rejoicing, with Shemini Atzeret symbolizing our close relationship with God (Rashi commentary, Numbers 29:35-36), and Simchat Torah celebrating the completion of the yearly cycle of reading the entire Torah scroll. Link: More about Torah-scrolls On Hanukkah the 8-branched menorah is lit in the home; on the first night one candle, on the 2nd night 2 candles, until all 8 candles are lit on the 8th night. On Purim the story of Esther is read from a Megillat-Esther scroll and food baskets are given to friends and charity to the poor. Reasons for the holidays: Every one of them has as its purpose "remembering the Exodus from Egypt" (as stated in our prayers and the kiddush over wine). In addition, Passover is a thanksgiving to God for the barley-harvest, Shavuot is a thanksgiving to God for the wheat-harvest, and Sukkot is a thanksgiving to God for the ingathering of grain. Shavuot also celebrates the Giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai, and Sukkot commemorates God having protected us in the wilderness. It may also be noted that it is instinctive and a moral and emotional need to celebrate in front of God every so often. This was Cain's motivation in making his offering in Genesis ch.4 without having been commanded. Had God not given us the Torah-festivals listed above, we might instinctively seek out those of the Canaanites, which the Torah warns against (Exodus 34:15) immediately before listing the Jewish festivals (in the following verses).
Asked in Religion & Spirituality, Kwanzaa
What are some customs and religions of Kwanzaa?
Kwanzaa has no connection to religion, although many religious African Americans celebrate it. Maulana Karenga of the US Organization created Kwanzaa in 1966 as the first specifically African American holiday. During the early years of Kwanzaa, Karenga said that it was meant to be an alternative to Christmas, that Jesus was psychotic, and that Christianity was a white religion that black people should shun. As such its only connection to religion would be as anti-Christian. Even so, many Christian African Americans began observing it in addition to Christmas as a way to celebrate their African heritage alongside their faith. As Kwanzaa gained mainstream adherents, Karenga altered his position so that practicing Christians would not be alienated, then stating in the 1997 Kwanzaa: A Celebration of Family, Community, and Culture, "Kwanzaa was not created to give people an alternative to their own religion or religious holiday." Despite this dubious revisionism by Karenga, the current celebration of Kwanzaa is reasonably consistent with African American religious culture and even with the simultaneous celebration of Christmas and with much less emphasis on its militant black nationalism roots. Karenga also invented a candle lighting ceremony to be part of the celebration of Kwanzaa. The candle holder is called a "kinara" (Swahili for "candle holder"). The ritual of lighting the kinara closely resembles that of the Menorah during the Jewish holiday of Hannukah so in this respect it is reminiscent of a religious practice. It is doubtful, however, that it was Karenga's intention to encourage African Americans to participate in a "white" religious ceremony. During the week of Kwanzaa, a new candle is lit on the kinara each day. The center black candle is lit first, and the lighting alternates between the red and green candles beginning with the outermost red candle and moving towards the center. In this way each day of Kwanzaa is dedicated to the contemplation of one of the Seven Principles. Kwanzaa celebrates 7 principles with usually one day allotted to focus on each principle. The names of the principles are taken from Swahili. The 7 principles that are to be celebrated are: Umoja (Unity): To strive for and to maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race. Kujichagulia (Self-Determination): To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves stand up. Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility): To build and maintain our community together and make our brothers' and sisters' problems our problems, and to solve them together. Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics): To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together. Nia (Purpose): To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness. Kuumba (Creativity): To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it. Imani (Faith): To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle. Karenga cobbled together ideas and customs that he felt represented an ideal African culture. None of them came directly from any actual African traditions or customs. They were directly derived from the principles of black nationalism. Nevertheless the principles celebrated are certainly not alien to the cultures of the ancestors of African Americans. Families celebrating Kwanzaa decorate their households with objects of art; colorful African cloth such as kente, especially the wearing of kaftans by women; and fresh fruits that represent African idealism. It is customary to include children in Kwanzaa ceremonies and to give respect and gratitude to ancestors. Libations are shared, generally with a common chalice, Kikombe cha Umoja, passed around to all celebrants. A Kwanzaa ceremony may include drumming and musical selections, libations, a reading of the African Pledge and the Principles of Blackness, reflection on the Pan-African colors, a discussion of the African principle of the day or a chapter in African history, artistic performance, and, finally, a feast (Karamu). The greeting for each day of Kwanzaa is Habari Gani? which is Swahili for "What's the News?" Frequently, both Christmas trees and kinaras, the traditional candle holder symbolic of African American roots, share space in Kwanzaa-celebrating households. For people who celebrate both holidays, Kwanzaa is an opportunity to incorporate elements of their particular ethnic heritage into holiday observances and celebrations of Christmas.
Asked in Holidays and Traditions, Christmas, Kwanzaa
Do some Christians celebrate Christmas and Kwanzaa?
What country celebrates Kwanzaa Christmas Hanukkah and Ramadan are celebrated?
Most people think Kwanzaa is and African holiday, but it actually started in North America, and is predominantly celebrated by African Americans. Christmas was traditionally a Christian holiday because that was when Jesus was supposedly born. It is celebrated in most countries that have significant Christian populations as a holy and/or a commercial Holiday. Hanukkah, also spelled Chanukah, is a Jewish holiday commemorating the Jewish victory against the Assyrian-Greeks in the Maccabean War of 165 BCE. It is celebrated by Jews in all countries they live in.
What language did the word Kwanzaa come from?
Kwanzaa is a made-up word. When the holiday was created in 1966 by Maulana Karenga, an American, he constructed the word from the Swahili kwanza (first) and kuzaa, to bear or produce (as in crops or giving birth). Kwanza is a Swahili word meaning "first." Kwanzaa is not a real Swahili word. The word kwanzaa is known to few Swahili-speakers, and many of them have some connection to America or American studies. If it were Swahili, the accent would be on -zaa: kwa-NZAA (or, literally, kwa-NZA-a). The accent in all but a few Swahili words is on the penultimate syllable, and since every syllable ends with a vowel, the word Kwanzaa has three syllables: kwa-nza-a. But the final two a's are elided to form a single, drawn-out sound.
Asked in Holidays and Traditions, Kwanzaa
What is Kwanzaa?
Kwanzaa is celebrated by some African-Americans in the United States of America. The colors, black, red, and green, represent the candles and seven principles of the long lasting "Christmas and New Years" get together celebration. Kwanzaa is a non-religious African American holiday which celebrates family, community, and culture. It is celebrated for seven days: December 26 - January 1. The name Kwanzaa is derived from the phrase "matunda ya kwanza" which means "first fruits" in Swahili. The kinara is the center of the Kwanzaa setting and represents the original stalk from which we came: our ancestry. Kwanzaa, which will be celebrated for the 44th time in 2009. It was established by Dr Maulana Karenga. Decorating the home with the colors of the African flag (bendera): black for the people, red for their struggle, and green for the future and hope that comes from their struggle. Laying out a straw or cloth mat (mkeka) in a place of honor in the home. Upon it are placed: a candleholder (kinara) with one central black candle, three red candles to its left and three green candles to its right; crops (mazao), including bananas, plantains, mangoes or whatever the family favorites are; ears of corn (muhindi), representing the children; and a unity cup filled with water, grape juice or wine (kikombe cha umoja). Other objects of African heritage may be added. Lighting the kinara: the black candle on the first night, the black one plus the leftmost red one on the next night, those two plus the rightmost green one on the next, etc. Each candle represents one of Kwanzaa's seven principles (nguzo saba). Pouring libations from the unity cup in the corners of the room to honor the African ancestors, then passing it around for all to sip. Holding a communal feast (karamu) on December 31, with food and an educational program. Exchanging enriching and culturally significant gifts (zawadi). The traditional Kwanzaa greeting is "Habari gani?" The answer is the principle for that day: umoja (unity), kujichagulia (self-determination), ujima (collective work and responsibility), ujamaa (cooperative economics), nia (purpose), kuumba (creativity), and imani (faith).
What is the Kwanzaa 'kinara' in English?
The kinara is the special candelabra or candleholder for celebrating Kwanzaa. It holds places for seven candles. One candle is lit on December 26, the first day of Kwanzaa. Each day a new candle is lit, followed by the lighting of those already lit on the immediately preceding evenings. The last candle is lit on New Year's Day, when Kwanzaa ends.
Asked in Holidays and Traditions, Christmas, Kwanzaa
Is Kwanzaa just like Christmas?
Christmas celebrates the birth of God in human form as the man Jesus of Nazareth (c. 7 B.C.E. - c. 33 A.D.). It does not emphasize race, ethnicity or culture in that celebration. In contrast, Kwanzaa is a social holiday that has no religious connections. It emphasizes what is distinct in African-American culture and ethnicity in the United States of America.
Asked in South Africa, Kwanzaa, Flags
What do each of the colors on the South African flag stand for?
1. Red for Bloodshed 2. Blue for open blue skies 3. Green for the Land 4. Black for the black people 5. White for the European people 6. Yellow for the natural resources - i.e Gold The ' Y ' symbolizes the merging nationalities - i.e Unity :- convergence and going forward as one unified nation of previously disparate groups in South Africa. * The red, white and blue colors were taken from the colors of the Boer Republics. * The yellow, black and green are taken from the African National Congress (ANC) flag. Note : The meanings attached to the colors of the SA flag as outlined above are NOT official, although they are accepted as such in some quarters. The choice in colors when designing the flag, arose from their use in the past in flags in this country. (Above information supplied by : Nicolas Noakes, 11 Feb 2000)