Since the 1960’s African American families and communities all across the USA, have continued to collectively present Kwanzaa as an expression of heritage and culture In a multi-cultural world. Kwanzaa functions as an avenue for the African American community to celebrate, honor, and collectively acknowledge its African heritage and cultural origin.
The cultural holiday is traditionally celebrated from December 26 – January 1. Founded and framed within the midst and context of the African American Freedom Movement of the 1960s, Kwanzaa was created by Dr. Maulana Karenga in Los Angeles, California. Kwanzaa is a positive and uplifting African American created cultural expression, intended to address a widespread need to rescue, reconstruct, restore, and reinforce rootedness in African heritage and culture.
During the Kwanzaa season, families and communities come together to enjoy, be influenced by, and share in the richness, flourishing, and cultural ambiance of traditional ethnic art, dance, poetry, folktales, music, literature, and the beauty of heritage clothing, jewelry, heirlooms, hairstyles, and creative productions.
The heart and soul of Kwanzaa revolves around Seven Principles. The Swahili term for the Seven Principles is the Nguzo Saba. There is one principle for each day of the cultural holiday observance. The principles in Swahili and English with a brief explanation are:
Umoja (Unity) – stresses that a profound sense of relatedness, togetherness and oneness in the small and larger circles of our lives be nurtured and maintained.
Kujichagulia (Self-Determination) – stresses that we define ourselves by embracing our history, heritage, and culture to develop common interests that are in the best interest of the family and community.
Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility) – stresses that we practice responsibility to and for each other, by being morally sensitive to the needs and aspirations of the family and community.
Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics) – stresses the obligation to pool resources, and share, for collective economic strength to meet common needs.
Nia (Purpose) – stresses introspect for setting personal goals that are beneficial to the family and to the community.
Kuumba (Creativity) – stresses persistent use of our creative energies to build and maintain a strong and vibrant family and community.
Imani (Faith) – stresses the obligation to honor the best of our traditions, to always strive for higher levels of achievement, to continuously affirm our dignity and self-worth, and to always maintain confidence in our unique ability to succeed and triumph, irrespective of surrounding adversity.
On Thursday, December 30, 2010, there will be a Kwanzaa Celebration for our community-at-large at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) Community Center, located at 1000 S. Owens Street, from 1 pm until 4 pm. African attire is strongly emphasized to support the essence and ambiance of this cultural event and there is no admission charge. Our entire Bakersfield community is invited to attend and enjoy this annual cultural celebration.
For more information, please telephone 661) 319-7611.