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Image: kwanzaa keepsake Learn the traditions of Kwanzaa
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Kwanzaa: The Newest Holiday
by Jade Walker

Image: kwanzaa

Kwanzaa is a relatively new holiday for December - one that's only been around since the 1960s.

Created by Dr. Maulana "Ron" Karenga of the U.S., Kwanzaa is a week-long celebration of black history, origins, principles and traditions.

This non-religious holiday was created to help African-Americans research ancient African ceremonies and celebrations as a way to unify and instill pride of the black culture. It is meant to be a time of rededication -- of love, family and self.

The focus of Kwanzaa is to remind black people of their pasts and to take important lessons from history. In celebrations with family and friends, people who enjoy Kwanzaa learn to practice the principles that helped their ancestors overcome oppression, slavery and racism.

Kwanzaa is centered on the seven principles (Nguzo Saba) with particular emphasis on the unity of black families.

Nguzo Saba:
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

In honor of these principles, celebrants light seven candles, one each night.

To learn more about the celebration of Kwanzaa, visit:

Jade Walker (, also known as Pamela Wilfinger, is a published author, journalist, book reviewer, teacher, editor and freelance writer. She is the editor of Inscriptions, the weekly e-zine for professional writers, which was named as one of the 101 Best Websites for Writers by Writer's Digest. Ms. Walker continuously freelances for Snap.Com, Cyber Age Adventures and the Webbys. She contributed to the "Cyber Age Anthology," which will be published in paperback in January 2000.

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