2011-12-22 / Entertainment

The Seven Principles of Kwanzaa

Celebrating its 45th anniversary in 2011, Kwanzaa is a weeklong celebration of African culture and heritage. Kwanzaa begins the day after Christmas and continues for seven days.

Seven is a significant figure with respect to Kwanzaa. In addition to being seven days long, Kwanzaa also focuses on “The Seven Principles.” The seven principles are meant to reinforce seven basic values of African culture, which the holiday's celebrants feel contribute to building and reinforcing family, community and culture among Africans all over the world, including African- Americans. The following are the Seven Principles of Kwanzaa and what they each illustrate.

Unity (Umoja)

This principle encourages celebrants to strive for and maintain unity within their family, their community and their race.

Self-Determination (Kujichagulia)

This principle encourages celebrants to define themselves, name themselves, create for themselves, and speak for themselves.

Collective Work and Responsibility


The principle encourages celebrants to building and maintain their community and work to solve their collective and individual problems together.

Cooperative Economics (Ujamaa)

This principle encourages celebrants to build and maintain their own stores, shops and additional businesses and profit from these various enterprises' success together.

Purpose (Nia)

This principle encourages celebrants to make it their collective goal to build and develop their community in an effort to restore their people to greatness.

Creativity (Kuumba)

This principle encourages celebrants to leave their community in better shape than they found it.

Faith (Imani)

This principle encourages celebrants to remain faithful in their people, parents, teachers, leaders, and the righteousness of their cause.

Return to top