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Sun, 11.28.2021

Umoja Karamu Celebrated

On this date, Umoja Karamu is celebrated. Always held on the fourth Sunday in November, this celebration was created in 1971 to inject new meaning and solidarity into the Black family through ceremony and symbolism.

Umoja Karamu, which means “unity feast” in the African language Swahili, spoken by the Bantu people; the holiday is growing in community popularity.  Its originator was Edward Simms, Jr. The feast is based around five colors and their meanings, which represent five historical periods in African American history.

Black represents Black families before slavery                                                                                                              

White symbolizes the scattering of Black families during slavery                                                                                   

Red denotes the liberation from slavery                                                                                                                         

Green signifies the struggle for civil equality                                                                                                                    

Gold implies hope for the future.

Umoja Karamu is similar to a Thanksgiving dinner and its observances can include prayer, a libation poured to honor ancestors, historical readings, and the passing and sharing of foods in the five colors. These foods may represent different passages in African American history

Encyclopedia of African American Culture and History
Volume 1, ISBN #0-02-897345-3, Pg 175
Jack Salzman, David Lionel Smith, Cornel West


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