Back in the 1966 a Negro activist (as they were called back then) named Ron Everett, decided to create a holiday. The 1960s was a time of experimentation, and as a black nationalist with Marxist leanings, Everett wanted to start the process of building an all Black paradise by creating a new culture based on a new mythology and alienating African Americans from the common American culture.
He had already had started by the creation of “Ebonics” a formalization of the so-called “Jive” dialect (officially called “African American Vernacular English (AAVE) by linguists), which would instill ethnic pride in speakers and further segregate the Black community from the rest of the nation, the inability to speak standard English, which is necessary to getting a good job, would radicalize Blacks and further the cause of separatism. Around this time, Everett changed his name to Maulana Karenga a little later.
Another way to further the cause of Black separatism was to create a mythical past, where ancient Egypt and medieval Mali were one and the same, a mono-cultural, mono-ethnic paradise which would still be going on if those inferior, evil white monsters hadn’t stolen Black culture, which they had no right to have, and mucked everything up.
True, this myth wasn’t created by Everett, but he publicized it big time, and many people still believe that Alexander the Great destroyed the Great Library of Alexandria eighty years before it was built and Cleopatra VII was a dead ringer for Angela Davis.
The term “Kwanzaa “ is derived from Kiswahili, a language the ancestors of African Americans never spoke, and means “first fruits.” The celebration centers around an imitation of Chanukah, with a type of a menorah called a kinara, which has seven lights instead of eight, and has the innovation of the "Kikombe cha Umoja" or communal chalice, which is shared around.
Each candle represents one of seven principles of Kawaida, which is Kiswahili for “tradition,”what Karenga originally called called Nguzo Saba (originally Nguzu Saba - "The seven Principles of Blackness"),
They are (and here I crib from the official website):
* Umoja (oo-MO-jah) Unity stresses the importance of togetherness for the family and the community, which is reflected in the African saying, "I am We," or "I am because We are."
(Unitiy also means that the leadership of the group knows what’s best for the group, and that dissent is unwelcome. In other words: SHUT UP AND DO WHAT YOU’RE TOLD!)
* Kujichagulia (koo-gee-cha-goo-LEE-yah) Self-Determination requires that we define our common interests and make decisions that are in the best interest of our family and community.
(Notice that this is “communal” and not personal. That also means that the leadership of the group knows what’s best for the group, and that dissent is unwelcome. In other words: SHUT UP AND DO WHAT YOU’RE TOLD!)
* Ujima (oo-GEE-mah) Collective Work and Responsibility reminds us of our obligation to the past, present and future, and that we have a role to play in the community, society, and world.
(Notice the term “collective.” That means that also means that the leadership of the group knows this better than we do, and that dissent is unwelcome. In other words: SHUT UP AND DO WHAT YOU’RE TOLD!)
* Ujamaa (oo-JAH-mah) Cooperative economics emphasizes our collective economic strength and encourages us to meet common needs through mutual support.
(Cooperative economics is good old Soviet-style state planning. Only the leadership of the group…you get the picture)
* Nia (NEE-yah) Purpose encourages us to look within ourselves and to set personal goals that are beneficial to the community.
(This principle is different from the others in that it challenges the individual “to think for themselves” as how to fulfill the commands of the leadership of the group.)
* Kuumba (koo-OOM-bah) Creativity makes use of our creative energies to build and maintain a strong and vibrant community.
(this actually is the only one which is actually good)
• Imani (ee-MAH-nee) Faith focuses on honoring the best of our traditions, draws upon the best in ourselves, and helps us strive for a higher level of life for humankind, by affirming our self-worth and confidence in our ability to succeed and triumph in righteous struggle.
(Faith means trust in the leadership of the group, who know all. Etc, etc. and so forth)
Despite a completely BS premise, Kwanzaa has become very popular because you get presents and ceremonial is always good. The US post office has issued stamps to commemorate the holiday, and people spend millions every year on gifts and decorations.
At least Festus admits it’s bogus.