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Airdate: Dec 26, 2000
Scientist: Ana Marden (pronounced "Anna")

Kwanzaa - Traditions

Kwanzaa - Traditions
This week, millions of people around the world celebrate Kwanzaa, a relatively new holiday with roots in the ancient harvest festivals of Africa.

Kwanzaa - Traditions

Ambience: Drumming

This week, millions of people around the world are observing a holiday that's relatively new, but has its roots in the ancient harvest festivals of Africa. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet. We're listening to the sounds of drumming at a celebration of Kwanzaa, a holiday that began in the United States in 1966. It's a celebration of African-American family, community and culture -- a non-religious holiday that takes its name from the Swahili phrase "Matunda Ya Kwanza", which means "first fruits". Each day of Kwanzaa is devoted to one of seven guiding principles known as "Nguzo Saba."

Crossdale: Umoja is unity. Kujichagulia is self determination. The third day is Ujima, and that means collective work and responsibility. The fourth day is Ujamaa. That means cooperative economics. The fifth day is Nia, and it means purpose. The sixth day is Kuumba, and that means creativity. The seventh day is Imani, and that means faith. There principles are celebrated throughout the seven days of Kwanzaa, and it goes from December 26 to January first.

Akilah Crossdale of San Diego, California has celebrated Kwanzaa with her family for most of her life.

Crossdale: The colors of Kwanzaa each represent something -- black, red and green. Black represents our people and their heritage and everything, red represents the blood and the history, and green represents the future, and all the children to come.

While certain customs are universal, families and communities are encouraged to develop their own Kwanzaa traditions. Pulse of the Planet is presented the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.