Happy Kwanzaa from Marist
MEMORANDUM TO THE MARIST COLLEGE COMMUNITY
FROM: DENNIS J. MURRAY
I hope members of the Marist community had a wonderful Christmas and that everyone is enjoying the holiday break. I would like to note that today is the beginning of Kwanzaa, a seven-day African-American and pan-African holiday that celebrates family, community, and culture. It was created in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga, an educator and activist.
The name Kwanzaa comes from the Swahili phrase “matunda ya kwanza,” meaning “first fruits.” It is traditional to light the seven candles of the kinara; one black, three red, and three green candles represent the people, the struggle, and the future, respectively. Each candle also represents one of Kwanzaa’s seven principles, or Nguzo Saba: unity (Umoja), self-determination (Kujichagulia), collective work and responsibility (Ujima), cooperative economics (Ujamaa), purpose (Nia), creativity (Kuumba), and faith (Imani). Family observances of the holiday typically include foods of the African diaspora, song, dance, and storytelling.
For many African Americans and others with ties to Africa, Kwanzaa is an opportunity to recognize and celebrate ancestral roots and traditions. To those members of the Marist community who may be taking part in the festivities, we wish you a Joyous Kwanzaa! And to the entire Marist community, best wishes for a happy and COVID-free 2021!