Kwanzaa a Celebration of Cultural Heritage
by Ricky Kellerman
Everybody knows about the importance of Christmas for the Christian people and Hanukkah for the Jewish, but not many people fully understand the concept of Kwanzaa which is celebrated around the same time as the other major religious holidays.
Google’s definition of Kwanzaa is a secular festival observed by many African Americans from December 26th to January 1st as a celebration of their cultural heritage and traditional values. Dr. Maulana Karenga writes on his website,
“As an African American and Pan-African holiday celebrated by millions throughout the world African community, Kwanzaa brings a cultural message which speaks to the best of what it means to be African and human in the fullest sense.”
He speaks about how this festival builds a strong cultural message that allows the African people to respect and care for each other as people. The more that people can learn about this festival and how much it means to the African culture, the more respect that can be given to the festival. Karenga adds,
“The holiday, then will of necessity, be engaged as an ancient and living cultural tradition which reflects the best of African thought and practice in its reaffirmation of the dignity of the human person in community and culture, the well-being of family and community, the integrity of the environment and our kinship with it, and the rich resource and meaning of a people’s culture.”
This holiday is not just for meeting with family to celebrate a specific tradition and to open gifts, but to demonstrate the existence of the African people and allows them to reflect upon the best of the African traditions.