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434th ARW wishes happy Kwanzaa

GRISSOM AIR RESERVE BASE, Ind. -- The men and women of the 434th Air Refueling Wing at Grissom wish everyone a happy Kwanzaa. Kwanzaa is a seven-day holiday, which celebrates family and Africa-American heritage. It is celebrated by many from Dec. 26-Jan. 1. (U.S. Air Force graphic/Senior Airman Damon Kasberg)

GRISSOM AIR RESERVE BASE, Ind. -- The men and women of the 434th Air Refueling Wing at Grissom wish everyone a happy Kwanzaa. Kwanzaa is a seven-day holiday, which celebrates family and Africa-American heritage. It is celebrated by many from Dec. 26-Jan. 1. (U.S. Air Force graphic/Senior Airman Damon Kasberg)

GRISSOM AIR RESERVE BASE, Ind. -- The men and women of the 434th Air Refueling Wing at Grissom wish everyone a happy Kwanzaa.

Kwanzaa is a seven-day holiday celebrated by many from Dec. 26-Jan. 1.

The holiday traces its roots to Dr. Maulana Karenga, a California State University professor, who developed the holiday in 1966 to celebrate family and Africa-American heritage.

Seven candles are held in a special candle holder called a Kinara, which is placed on a straw mat called a Mkeka. These candles, known as the Mishumaa Saba, represent the seven principles of Kwanzaa, known as the Nguzo Saba. Candles are then lit each day alternately from left to right.

These seven principles represented in the candles, correspond to the seven days of celebration in the following order:

   - Umoja, the principle of unity, is about striving for and maintaining unity with one's family, community, nation and race.

   - Kujichagulia, the principle of self-determination, is the idea that one should define oneself, name oneself, create for oneself and speak for oneself.

   - Ujima, the principle of collective work and responsibility, celebrates the building and maintaining of communities. It also reinforced the idea that communities make each other's problems their own to solve together.

   - Ujamaa, the principle of cooperative economics, revolves around the goal of building and maintaining stores, shops and other businesses as a community.

   - Nia, the principle of purpose, is about everyone working together to build community to restore people to their traditional greatness.

   - Kuumba, the principle of creativity, is the idea that one should do as much as possible to leave the community more beautiful and beneficial than when it was inherited.

   - Imani, the principle of faith, is about believing in people, in parents, in teachers, in leaders and in the righteousness and victory of struggle.

The colors of the Mishumaa Saba are black, red and green. Black represents the face of the people, red represents blood people shed, and green represents hope.

The 434th ARW is the largest KC-135R Stratotanker unit in the Air Force Reserve Command.

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