Kwanzaa is not a religious holiday, it’s a cultural one. Because of this, people from all different religious backgrounds — including African spiritual traditions — celebrate the holiday.
Kwanzaa celebrates the seven principles of Kwanzaa, or Nguzo Saba. These seven principles are all Swahili words, and together comprise the Kawaida or “common” philosophy.
Each of the seven days of Kwanzaa is dedicated to one of the principles, as follows:
1. Umoja (Unity): To strive for and to maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.
2. Kujichagulia (Self-determination): To define and name ourselves, as well as to create and speak for ourselves.
3. Ujima (Collective work and responsibility): To build and maintain our community together and make our brothers’ and sisters’ problems our problems and to solve them together.
3. Ujamaa (Cooperative economics): To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.
4. Nia (Purpose): To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
5. Kuumba (Creativity): To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.
6. Imani (Faith): To believe with all our hearts in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.