The seven candles and principles of Kwanzaa
Today is the third day of Kwanzaa, a seven-day celebration founded by Maulana Ndabezitha Karenga. Kwanzaa is Swahili for “matunda ya kwanza” meaning “first fruit.” Founded in 1966 after the Watts riots to help bring Black Americans together to celebrate together history, values, family, community, and culture. We will be counting down to Black History Media’s launching by celebrating the seven days of Kwanzaa.
Mishumaa Saba (the seven candles), each of the seven candles represents seven principles (Nguzo Saba) of Kwanzaa. The Black candle represents the people. The red candles represent the struggle and the green candles represent the future and the hope that comes from their struggle.
- Umoja (Unity [Black Candle])
- Kujichagulia (Self-Determination [Red Candle])
- Ujima (Collective work and responsibility [Red Candle])
- Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics [Red Candle])
- Nia (Purpose [Green Candle])
- Kuumba (Creativity [Green Candle])
- Imani (Faith [Green Candle])
Today’s principle is Ujima (Collective work and responsibility), meaning “To build and maintain our community together and make our brothers’ and sisters’ our problems and solve them together.”