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Kwanzaa Through The Words Of Its People

My very first job, as a lowly assistant to an assistant advertising manager, was the job that first brought me into contact with Kwanzaa. It wasn’t called Kwanzaa then. In fact, Kwanzaa didn’t even exist then.

What I learned about was a wonderful holiday celebrated by American plantation slaves during the week between Christmas and New Years. They cooked special dishes, created special gifts, and sang special songs.

I learned about this tradition in a book called “Christmas Gif’ “ which Follett Publishing Company published that year. I was very proud to be part of its promotion. It has long been out of print, but I still remember the joy that shone through the pages.

Dr. Maulana Karenga created Kwanzaa in 1966, basing the celebration on the “first fruits” celebrations of African heritage. Black, red and green decorate the seven candles that are the centerpiece of the celebration, as well as African arts and banners. This is a colorful, joyful celebration.

Kwanzaa is a week-long celebration, each of seven days having its own designation. Consider the majesty and joy of Kwanzaa through the words of some of the leaders of this community:

First Day of Kwanzaa: Unity

“We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value no matter what their color.” Maya Angelou

Second Day of Kwanzaa: Self Determination

“It isn't where you came from, it's where you're going that counts.” Ella Fitzgerald

Third Day of Kwanzaa: Work and Responsibility

“If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else.” Booker T. Washington

Fourth Day of Kwanzaa: Cooperation in Economics

“If the fingers of one hand quarrel, they cannot pick up the food.” Kenyan proverb

Fifth Day of Kwanzaa: Purpose

“If a man hasn't discovered something that he will die for, he isn't fit to live.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

Sixth Day of Kwanzaa: Creativity

“Create and be true to yourself, and depend only on your own good taste.” Duke Ellington

Seventh Day of Kwanzaa: Faith (also a day of meditation)

“I believe that everyone is keeper of a dream -- and by tuning into one another's secret hopes, we can become better friends, better partners, better parents, and better lovers.” Oprah Winfrey

When I set up my website Inspirational-Quotes-Café.com, I knew I had to include some of the very inspirational, motivational quotes of Kwanzaa. This is a deeply felt celebration that touches every corner of the African American experience.

I invite you to share it, too, with the quotes here, and those at the website.

MaryAnn Shank

Submitted by:

Mary-Ann Shank

Mary-Ann Shank, webmistress of Inspirational Quotes Cafe (http://www.inspirational-quotes-cafe.com) knew she had to include quotes for Kwanzaa. The strength and power of these quotations are for everyone.




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