Umoja (OO-MO-JAH) Unity stresses the importance of togetherness for the family and the community, which is reflected in the African saying, “I am We,” or “I am because We are.”
On the first day of Kwanzaa the family lights the black candle. This candle is symbolic of the black people. The placement and order of the Kwanzaa candles teach and reinforce valuable lessons for the family. The black candle- represents and is symbolic of the people. The lesson is that we light the black candle first to reinforce the value of making our family a priority. The African proverb says, “The ruin of a nation begins in the home,” The Unity principle demands that family members and neighbors respect and care for each other. The candle lighting activity presents one of the best moments for family members to assess their practice around “unity” and make a specific commitment to practice “unity” during the next year.