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The seventh day of Kwanzaa celebrates the principle upon which all others rest. On the first day of January, Africans celebrated Imani (ee-MAH-nee) which means faith. Imani (ee-MAH-nee) challenges people to believe in each other with all our hearts, and honour the righteousness and victory of their struggle. It is the profound and enduring belief in, and commitment to, family, community, people and culture.
Imani is the foundation for the celebration and practice of the seven principles of Kwanzaa, and each of the Mishumaa saba (mee-shoo-MAH-ah SAH-ba) or seven candles, represents one of these principles. Although not a celebration originating in any of the African countries, nor an “African” Christmas, Kwanzaa was introduced in the United States in 1966 as an African-American response to the commercialism of Christmas, with more similarities to the American Thanksgiving.
Although the cultural celebration of Kwanzaa takes place on the seven days from December 26th through January 1st, the principles and practices of Kwanzaa can be applied to life on a daily basis. It is not only about recognising the past, but also embracing the creativity and community that can lead us into a better future for all. (WXXI Classic)