Kwanzaa: First Fruit

Taking its roots from historic African crop-harvesting festivals, Kwanzaa means “First Fruit.” An annual celebration of African traditions and Black culture through Nguzo Saba, the Seven Principles, and a feast of faith called Karamu Ya Imani, Kwanzaa was created by Dr. Maulana Karenga and was first celebrated in 1966. 

In last year’s Annual Founder’s Kwanzaa Message Dr. Karenga focused on “ensuring the well-being of the world,” saying “…we need not sacrifice the good of human beings for the well-being of the world nor sacrifice the wellbeing of the world for the good of human beings. What is called for is a complementary justice…” 

He goes on beautifully outlining each of the seven principles, see a snippet on what he had to say about each here:

The Kinara represents Our ancestry, and the original stalk from which we came.

  1. Umoja (Unity): “The principle and practice of Umoja (Unity), teaches an ever expanding sense of self through our sense of oneness with others and the world. …we are world beings (walimwengu), deeply embedded in the natural as well as social world, interrelated, interdependent and unavoidably responsible for the health, wholeness and well-being of both.”
  2. Kujichagulia (Self-determination): “The principle and practice of Kujichagulia (Self-determination), as Nana Haji Malcolm teaches us, is “to see for yourself and listen for yourself and think for yourself.”…it is not being satisfied with prevailing established order thought… and as the ancestors taught: think deep about what is good for the people and for the future of the world.”
  3. Ujima (Collective work and responsibility): “The principle and practice of Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility) urges acceptance of the shared responsibility to work together for good in the world… It is a work and struggle that require a genuine and sustained moral sensitivity to others, their aspirations for the good as well as an ethical commitment to the well-being of the world and to the struggle to achieve both.”
  4. Ujamaa (Cooperative economics): “Upholding the principle and practice of Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics) teaches us the essential value of shared work and shared wealth and the right of everyone to a life of dignity and decency… And it teaches respect of the earth as shared sacred space and common good, not to be plundered, polluted and depleted…”
  5. Nia (Purpose): “In embracing the principle and practice of Nia (Purpose), we foreground and foster the ancient moral teaching of the Odu Ifa that we should do things with joy “for surely humans have been divinely chosen to bring good into the world.” …This means choosing in thought and practice love over hate, peace over war, freedom over unfreedom, justice over injustice, sharing over hoarding, and liberation from oppressions of all kinds, forms and fashions.”
  6. Kuumba (Creativity): “The principle and practice of Kuumba (Creativity) invites and urges us to work and struggle mightily for communities, societies and a world more beautiful and beneficial than the ones we inherited. It raises up the ancient African ethical imperative of the Husia to practice serudj ta, i.e., to constantly repair, renew and remake the world.” 
  7. Imani (Faith): “The principle and practice of Imani (Faith) teaches us and urges us to believe in our people, in the good we seek, strive and struggle for and in our capacity to achieve and share it. And we must believe in the righteousness and victory of our struggle to bring and sustain good in the world. It also urges us to believe in the coming good of the future and our young peoples’ will, consciousness, capacity and commitment to forge it and to share it equitably and caringly.”

This Kwanzaa, honor all seven principles at Karamu Ya Imani by serving a vegan feast. A plant-based diet is significantly better for you, the planet, and the generations to come. Scroll down for delicious Kwanzaa recipes and some amazing Black-owned vegan businesses to support this Kwanzaa.

Delicious vegan Kwanzaa Recipes

Black-Owned Vegan Businesses to Support this Kwanzaa