Date: Fri, 22 Dec 1995 01:29:29 -0600

From: "Salikoko S. Mufwene" s-mufwene[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]UCHICAGO.EDU

Subject: Kwanzaa

In message Thu, 21 Dec 95 11:14:59 EST,

murphy!acmcr!vr[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] (Vicki Rosenzweig) writes:

As far as I know, Kwanzaa is not celebrated anywhere in Africa:

it was invented in the United States sometime around 1970.

Thanks to Vicki, I finally decided to check "Kwanzaa" with a Tanzanian

friend on mine, because I just assumed that this may be a Tanzanian

tradition. Reason? I have attended about three Kwanzaa-related

presentations in the past six years and every presenter

claims that the tradition was copied from/inspired by something done in

Tanzania and the name is Swahili. My firend says she knows of no such

celebration in East Africa, even though the word "Kwanzaa" is Swahili. I

still wonder whether the tradition was invented ex-nihilo, without a distant

model other than traditions which celebrate the new year. The closest model,

according to my friend, is harvesting festivities, which follow a different

protocol. Doesn't this fall in the category of syncretisms, albeit a

planned one?

Happy holidays,



Salikoko S. Mufwene s-mufwene[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]

University of Chicago 312-702-8531; FAX: 312-702-9861

Department of Linguistics

1010 East 59th Street

Chicago, IL 60637