Kwanzaa Day 7: Imani

Kwanzaa candles Imani = Faith

Without faith no growth can occur. Generation after generation has relied on faith in a higher power for the kind of guidance that makes it possible to navigate change and to make a way when there didn’t seem to be a way. Ending Kwanzaa with Imani sets the stage to forge ahead energized by both humility and confidence.

Kwanzaa Day 5: Nia

 Kwanzaa candlesNia = Purpose

Our purpose is to always to fulfill the promise of greatness. This does not mean building ourselves up by putting others down. Nia is simply focused on complete clarity and consistency regarding who you came from and where you are going. What are you choosing and what are you doing? How  does that honor your ancestors while creating a platform for future generations?

Kwanzaa Day 3: Ujima

Kwanzaa candlesUjima = Collective Work & Responsibility

You have probably heard the common quotation, “It takes a village to raise a child.” This principle of Kwanzaa reminds us that it takes a village to do anything worth doing … and that each one of us contributes to the success of our community. Ujima means: I am willing to collaborate with others in a way that improves the community and the world. I am responsible for doing my part.

Kwanzaa Day 2: Kujichagulia

Kwanzaa candles Kujichagulia = Self Determination

Self-determination does not mean independence. It means that as I interact with others I define the kind of person I want to be, how I want to be treated, what I will respond to. When we practice self-determination in our individual lives we are neither fighting nor rebelling against the beliefs or actions of others. We are simply choosing, in an intentional way, our own beliefs and actions. 

Kwanzaa Day 1: Umoja

Kwanzaa candles

Umoja = Unity

To begin Kwanzaa reflecting on Unity is powerful for it reminds us that first and foremost we are united with God. And because we are united with the divine we are connected to every other living being. Umoja reminds us to recognize that it is up to each one of us to choose actions that lead to unity with our family members, community members and all we come into contact with …while remembering that unity does NOT require uniformity.