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Kwanzaa

Kwanzaa,  2016 – December 26 – January 1

We offer African costumes for Kwanzaa for sale and to rent.  You will also find  accessories and make-up to finish the look.

Kwanzaa is a 7 day festival celebrating the African American people, culture and history. It is a time of celebration, community gathering, and reflection;  a time of endings and beginnings.

Kwanzaa begins on December 26th, the day after Christmas, and continues until January 1st.

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HOW IS KWANZAA CELEBRATED?

Each evening a family the youngest child, lights candles in a special candle holder and discusses one of the seven principles of Kwanzaa. On the sixth day, which falls on New Years Eve, family and friends gather to enjoy a large feast and to celebrate their history, culture, and the upcoming new year.

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HOW IT BEGAN

Dr. Maulana Karenga created the holiday of Kwanzaa in 1966, during the period of US history in which African Americans were involved in struggles for their civil rights. This was the period of Martin Luther King, the Civil Rights movement, and Black Power.  He wanted to create a holiday that would bring African Americans together in celebration of their black culture.  He was inspired by the “first fruit” or harvest festivals that were celebrated throughout Africa.  In fact the name he gave to the holiday, “Kwanzaa,” comes from the Kiswahili phrase for “first fruit”.  When Dr. Karenga chose the word “kwanza” for the name of his festival he added the extra “a” at the end to give the word greater significance.

Dr. Karenga used these first fruit festivals as his model for Kwanzaa because they shared characteristics which he felt were important. These characteristics were:

  • Everyone gathered together to celebrate their crops and harvest
  • The people would give thanks to their Creator for a good harvest and life.
  • A time to remember and celebrate their ancestors and the past.
  • A time for the people to recommit themselves to their community.
  • A celebration of their history, culture, Creator, and the promise of the next year.

It was these characteristics that inspired Dr. Karenga when he developed Seven Principles, of Kwanzaa. These principles are unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and fairness.

The foundations of Kwanzaa.

The dates of Kwanzaa, December 26 – January 1, were chosen to correspond to the end of the year celebrations in America, in order to bypass the commercial buying period.  Kwanzaa begins the day after Christmas.

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