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Christmas and Kwanzaa: two holidays, different meanings

by Jayla Roberts

It’s that special time of the year. For some people it’s about Christmas day, which is a day of remembrance of the birth of the baby Jesus. For others, it is about Kwanzaa, which, includes seven days preparing for the remembrance of our African heritage and the current place African Americans have in America.

The birth of Christ was never confirmed to be on the December 25. The reason December 25 was chosen for baby Jesus’ birth was because the Roman Catholic Church convinced the Christians to believe it was true. During this day of Christmas, it is said that a man in a red suit and a white beard will visit the good kids around the world in one night in a big sleigh pulled by nine tiny reindeer. This story is based on a fourth century legend about a bishop by the name of Saint Nicholas who donated toys and other gifts to the unfortunate kids around his residence. He was so beloved that by the time he died he was famous throughout his country—and eventually became known throughout the world. He got the name ‘Santa Clause’ from Germany. Another Christmas tradition is the Christmas tree. The Christmas tree was a was to make Christmas a more decorative holiday.

“Christmas has always been my favorite holiday. I just love getting my children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren something special from the heart every year. I also love watching their expressions every time they open something new,” said Rosa Babb.

Kwanzaa was founded in 1966 by Ron Karenga. His purpose for this holiday is to remember the African heritage and the current state of African Americans now in America. Kwanzaa is Swahili for ‘fruits of harvest.’ This holiday is seven days long starting from December 26 until January 7. there are seven principles in the holiday that all have a certain meaning, including: unity, self determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economies, purpose, creativity and faith. Kwanzaa is symbolized by the Kinara, which is like a candle holder holding seven candles called the mishumaa saba. The Kinara is placed upon a Mikeka, which is a mat usually made from straw. There are six candles in all, three green, three red and one black held in the center. Each of these candles symbolizes a meaning. Black symbolizes the African face, red symbolizes the blood that was shed by the Africans, and green symbolizes hope of the new land.

“Kwanzaa has been an eye opening holiday for both me and my family,” said Olivia Holt.

Kwanzaa and Christmas are two totally different holidays, yet they have similar meanings. They differ because the celebrations are different, the meanings are different and many of the ways they are celebrated differ. But they are similar because they bring families together for one day (or in the case of Kwanzaa seven days) of peace. Both holidays are loved and enjoyed by many and continue to brighten up the smiles of loved ones.

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