To most of the population, Kwanzaa is commonly known as a week-long wintertime celebration of African culture. While this is true, Kwanzaa exists in many forms besides the traditional sense – the principles and ideologies of Kwanzaa are more akin to a mindset. Kwanzaa is based off of seven distinct principles – kuumba (creativity), imani (faith), umoja (unity), kujichagulia (self-determination), ujima (collective work & responsibility), ujamaa (cooperative economics), and nia (purpose). In honor of the seven principles of Kwanzaa, here are seven quotes that I feel best represent the spirit of the holiday.
“We are each other’s harvest; we are each other’s business; we are each other’s magnitude and bond.” – from “Paul Robeson” by Gwendolyn Brooks
“We have religious holidays and we have secular holidays. I see Kwanzaa as an opportunity for African Americans to reaffirm ourselves if we choose to, a chance to rebuild and renew our focus. I see Kwanzaa as a holiday of the spirit.” – Jessica Harris
“So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole Earth.” – Bahá’u’lláh
“The seven principles of Kwanzaa—unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith—teach us that when we come together to strengthen our families and communities and honor the lesson of the past, we can face the future with joy and optimism. —President Bill Clinton
“Each of us is a being in himself and a being in society, each of us needs to understand himself and understand others, take care of others and be taken care of himself.” – Haniel Long
“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
“The moment we break faith with one another, the sea engulfs us and the light goes out.” – James A. Baldwin
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading these quotes and found some inspiration from them. Kwanzaa is far more than just a holiday celebration – it is a representation of how we should all strive to carry ourselves and live our lives. I started Kwanzaa Every Day in order to continue the work of my late husband, Peter Barrett, whose mission was to inspire everyone to live according to Kwanzaa principles, no matter what the season. The goal of this project is to highlight our rich culture and reconnect with our God-given power. The principles of Kwanzaa are a mindset that I strive to keep up in my day to day life. If you’re looking for Kwanzaa inspired merchandise to help to inspire you to live in alignment with the philosophies of Kwanzaa, I sell Kwanzaa shirts and cutting boards on my online store. Be sure to keep up with my blog or follow me across all my social media platforms if you are interested in more content regarding Kwanzaa, anti-racism, and diversity and inclusion in the workplace!