Umoja Karamu, meaning "unity feast" in Swahili, is an African American celebration began in
1971 by Dr. Edward Sims, Jr. Its purpose is to instill solidarity, black values, and
appreciation of black heritage into black families. Prayers, libations to honor ancestors,
historical readings, and feasts mark observances.
The celebration is based on five periods of African life, each represented by a colour to be
used in the ceremony.
Prior to Slavery - the color black, represents black families in Africa before slavery
In Slavery - the color white, symbolizes the scattering of black families during slavery
Upon Emancipation - the color red, marks blacks' liberation from slavery
Struggle for Liberation - the color green, significances the struggle for civil rights and equality
Looking to the Future - the colour gold (or orange), points celebrants to hope for the future
The home observance of Umoja Karamu could proceed according to the following order:
Libation - liquid poured in honor of the family's ancestors
Period Presentations - reading the narratives, playing the music, and passing the food
Community observances are very similar, with the following additions:
Any elders present should share words of advice and encouragement at the conclusion of
Unused food should be distributed to the poor and homeless in the community.
During the ceremony, participants read narratives about each time period as music indicative
of the period is played. The five different colours are represented in the foods served in the
We will be having edutainment from Sola Storytelling for the whole family as well as
Speaker to give a brief intro into the purpose of
Kwanzaa with observations from the 7 principles:
Umoja: Unity. To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.
Kujichagulia: Self-Determination: ...
Ujima: Collective Work and Responsibility. ...
Ujamaa: Cooperative Economics. .
Nia: Purpose. ...
Kuumba: Creativity. ...
Imani: Faith. ...
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