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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, is spoken by the Bantu; the holiday is growing in community popularity. Its originator was Edward Simms, Jr. The feast is based on five colors and their meanings, representing 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. 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