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Happy Kwanzaa! Day 1: Habara Gani? Umoja (Unity)



Kwanzaa Daily Greeting: Habara Gani? (What’s the news?) Daily Answer: the name of the Principle of the Day

The first principle of Kwanzaa celebrated on Day One is “Umoja” which is Swahili for “Unity”.

To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race.

What actions can you take locally, nationally, or internationally to promote unity?


Kwanzaa is a African-American and Pan-African cultural holiday celebrated annually worldwide from December 26 – January 1st.

It was founded in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga to celebrate and reaffirm the roots of people of the African Diaspora in the culture of Africa. Kwanzaa is not a religious holiday or a “Black Christmas”. It is a celebration of family,  community and  culture for all people of African descent.

(For more information on Kwanzaa, please refer to the Official Kwanzaa Website from which much of this information is paraphrased.)

Although gifts may be exchanged, the wanton commercialization of gift-giving and the giving of store-bought presents are both inappropriate for Kwanzaa. Homemade gifts and/or donations of time and/or money to community groups is how Kwanzaa is celebrated.

“Kwanzaa” is taken from the Swahili phrase, matunda ya kwanza, which  means “first fruits”. Kwanzaa celebrations are based on the Nguzo Saba (Seven Principles):

1) Umoja (Unity); 2) Kujichagulia (Self-Determination); 3) Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility); 4) Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics); 5) Nia (Purpose); 6) Kuumba (Creativity); 7) Imani (Faith).


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