Kwanzaa's name is derived from the Swahili phrase 'Matunda ya Kwanzaa' which translates to 'first fruits of the harvest'.
With over 2000 languages spoken on the African continent, Kwanzaa adopted one of the many unifying languages, Swahili, which is spoken by millions on the African continent.
Kwanzaa is represented by three colors - red, green, and black.
The first US postage stamp to commemorate Kwanzaa was issued in 1997. There have been 5 designs released since then, the most recent being in 2016.
The Kwanzaa color red symbolizes the bloodshed in the African people's struggle for freedom.
Kwanzaa is rooted in African culture, however, people from all racial and ethnic backgrounds are welcomed to join in the celebration.
The Kwanzaa color green symbolizes Africa's fertile land.
Celebrities who have been known to celebrate Kwanzaa every year include Oprah, Maya Angelou, Chuck D, Angelina Jolie, and Synthia Saint James (who designed the first Kwanzaa postage stamp).
The Kwanzaa color black symbolizes the people.
Seven candles are lit during Kwanzaa – the first one is black, the second is red and the third is green. The remaining four candles alternate between red and green. Red, green and black are the holiday’s symbolic colors.
Kwanzaa has seven principles called Nguzo Saba. These include Umoja, Kujichagulia, Ujima, Ujamaa, Nia, Kuumba, and Imani.
Kwanzaa isn’t a religious holiday, but a cultural celebration of African heritage and togetherness.
Umoja is the principle of unity - in the family and in the community.
Traditional Kwanzaa gifts center on learning, so books about African heritage and culture are appropriate.
Kujichagulia is the principle of self-determination - responsibility in one's community as well as speaking for onself.
Kwanzaa is also spelled Kwanza.
Ujima is the principle of responsibility and collective work - building and maintaining one's community.
Each night celebrants light a new candle on the kinara, a seven-branched candelabra.
Ujamaa is the principle of cooperative economics - building and maintaining businesses.
Many families spend the days before Kwanzaa decorating homes with crafts made by the young children in the community.
Nia is the principle of purpose - developing and building goals that will benefit the community's people.
Decorations usually involve the seven symbols made of different materials.
Kuumba is the principle of creativity - making a more beneficial and beautiful community for future generations.
People celebrating Kwanzaa use glow sticks, whistles, and party poppers to create a festive atmosphere.
Imani is the principle of faith - believing in the community's leaders, teachers, parents, and people.
Loot bags and prizes are also part of the celebration along with many traditional foods, costumes, and decorations.
Kwanzaa is seven days long and on each day a candle is lit and one of the seven principles are discussed.
Kwanzaa is now observed by more than 18 million people worldwide.
The candle holder of Kwanzaa is called a kinara. It has a black candle in the middle with three green candles on the left and three red candles on the right.
Despite coinciding with Christmas Day, Kwanzaa is not meant to replace the event.
Kwanzaa has seven symbols including Mazao, Mkeka, Vibunzi, Mishumoa Saba, Kinara, Kikombe Cha Umoja, and Zawadi.
Mazao is the symbol for vegetables, nuts, and fruits, to remind people of the harvest that fed and nourished Africa's people.
The Mkeka is a mat where the symbols of Kwanzaa are placed upon. It is often made of African cloth or straw.
The Vibunzi is an ear of corn, meant to represent fertility with one ear of corn placed on the Mkeka for every child in the family.
Mishumoa Saba is name for the seven candles of Kwanzaa representing the seven principles.
The Kinara is the candleholder that holds the seven candles of Kwanzaa, meant to symbolize corn branching off, similar to family branching off to form new family units.
The Kikombe Cha Umoja is a unity cup that people drink from to honor ancestors.
The Zawadi are the gifts that are given on January 1st - the last day of Kwanzaa. Gifts given on this day should encourage self-determination, growth, success, and achievement for the person receiving the gifts.
Shrews vary in size. Smallest mammal on the planet is Etruscan Shrew which reaches 1.3 inches in length and 0.07 ounces in weight. Most shrews reach between 2.5 and 9.5 inches in length and weigh of up to 3.5 ounces.
They have a higher metabolic rate than any other animal. The heart of the masked shrew, Sorex cinereus, beats 800 times a minute, considerably faster than that of the hummingbird.
Most shrews are terrestrial animals. Some of them live both on the ground and on the trees. Certain shrews are semi-aquatic (they live near the water). Those that live near the water have stiff hairs on the feet used for "running" across the water surface by trapping the bubbles of air.
Shrews must eat 80-90 % of their own body weight in food daily. Most will starve to death if deprived of food for half a day.
Shrew is covered with fur that can be brown or gray in color. Fur is, short, soft and thick.
They eat anything available, but prefer small animals; they are economically important as destroyers of insects and slugs that harm crops.
Shrew mainly eats insects, but it also consumes worms, fish, frogs, seed and nuts. It can also kill animals larger than its size, such as different kind of rodents. Shrews are beneficial for farmers because they eliminate insects, slugs and other pests from the crops.
Shrews are easily startled and will jump, faint, or drop dead at a sudden noise.
Shrew is known as nocturnal animal (active at night), but it is actually active both during the day and night.
The Etruscan Shrew (Suncus etruscus) which at about 3.5 cm and 2 g is the smallest living terrestrial mammal.
Shrew has the fastest metabolic rate of all known animals (even higher than hummingbird). Due to high energetic needs, shrew needs to eat almost during whole day and night. Short period of food deprivation (half a day) leads to death of the shrew.
Unlike most mammals, some species of shrew are venomous.
Heart rate of shrew reaches incredible 700 beats per minute.
Shrew venom is not conducted into the wound by fangs, but by grooves in the teeth.
Shrew can be scared to death by a sudden noise, such as thunder.
The venom of the shrew contains various compounds and the contents of the venom glands of the American short-tailed shrew are sufficient to kill 200 mice by intravenous injection.
Shrew has poor eyesight, but excellent sense of smell and hearing. Last two senses help shrew to locate its prey and avoid predators. Shrews are also very smart animals. Their brain weighs 10% of the total body weight.
They do not hibernate, but can enter torpor. Shrews can lose between 30% and 50% of their body weight in winter, shrinking the size of bones, skull and internal organs.
Shrews are often killed by other animals, but they are rarely eaten afterwards, because they release smelly musk from the gland on the belly which is repulsive for most animals.
Unlike rodents, which have gnawing incisors that grow throughout life, the teeth of shrews wear down throughout life, and they lose their milk teeth before birth.
Shrew is one of the rare venomous mammals. Poisonous saliva is delivered to their enemies (or prey) by the grooves in their teeth. American short-tailed shrew contains enough venom to kill 200 mice.
In general, shrews live in and on the ground.
Shrews are solitary animals (live on their own) that can be seen together only during mating season. Shrew aggressively chases away other shrews from its territory during non-breeding season.
Shrews are distributed almost worldwide. Of the major tropical and temperate land masses, only New Guinea, Australia, and New Zealand do not have any native shrews.
Shrews reach sexual maturity early - just 3 to 4 months after birth. Those living the tropical areas often mate during whole year. Shrews that are living in temperate areas avoid breeding during cold winter time.
Shrews have sharp, spike-like teeth, not the familiar gnawing front incisor teeth of rodents.
Pregnancy lasts between 17 and 32 days. Female can have up to 10 litters per year.
Lifespan of shrews is very short, between 12 and 30 months.
President Theodore Roosevelt was the inspiration for Jackie’s middle name: Roosevelt. He died 25 days before Robinson was born.
April 15th is celebrated as Jackie Robinson Day in Major League Baseball, to commemorate that day in 1947, when he became the first African-American to play in the Majors.
Jackie lettered in football, basketball, track and baseball at UCLA. He was also an accomplished tennis player, and had won the junior boys singles championship in the Pacific Coast Negro Tennis Tournament.
Jackie Robinson's middle name is Roosevelt, in honor of United States President Theodore Roosevelt who died only 25 days before Jackie was born.
In 1942, Jackie was drafted into the Army and stationed in Fort Hood, Texas.
Jackie attended John Muir High School along with Ted Williams and Bob Lemons, both fellow future Baseball Hall of Famers. In high school all three played on the Pemona Annual Baseball Tournament All-Star Team.
He became friends with heavyweight boxer Joe Louis.
Jackie Robinson excelled at several sports in high school and in college, including baseball, football, basketball and track.
Jackie Robinson used his celebrity to increase awareness about social injustice.
Jackie Robinson's older brother Mack won a silver medal at the 1936 Summer Olympics for the 200 meter sprint.
He fundraised for freedom riders and lobbied politicians to support key civil rights initiatives.
Jackie Robinson lettered at the varsity level in four sports at John Muir High School including football, baseball, basketball, and track.
He was a board member of the NAACP and campaigned all across the country in support of the Movement.
In 1936 Jackie Robinson won the annual Pacific Coast Negro Tennis Tournament for junior boy's singles.
No. 42, is the only number to be retired across all of Major League Baseball.
Jackie Robinson was the first person ever to win four letters at UCLA, for football, track, basketball, and baseball.
Upon retiring from baseball, Jackie Robinson became the first African American Vice President at a major US corporation, Chock Full O’ Nuts.
In 1942 Jackie Robinson was drafted into the army. He became friends with boxer Joe Louis.
He founded Freedom National Bank in Harlem in 1964, a time during which there were very few black-owned banks.
Jackie Robinson was arrested by military police for refusing to sit at the back of the bus. He was later acquitted and served as an Army athletics coach until 1944 when he was honorably discharged.
Jackie Robinson appeared on a U.S. postage stamp in 1982.
Jackie Robinson was signed to the Kansas City Monarchs in 1945, making $400 a month (great money at the time about $5100 a month today). That same year he was placed in the Negro League All-Star Game.
e was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1984 by Ronald Reagan.
In 1946 Jackie Robinson married Rachel Islum. They had three children together.
He was featured on both a gold and silver coin produced by the U.S. Mint in 1997.
Jackie Robinson played for the Montreal Royals in Minor League Baseball in 1946.
Jackie Robinson was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, the nation’s highest honor, in 2005.
In 1947, on April 15th, Jackie Robinson became the first African-American to play in the Major Leagues. He played for the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, New York.
He portrayed himself in the film, ‘The Jackie Robinson story’.
He won Rookie of the Year in 1947.
The Jackie Robinson Story, directed by Alfred E. Green, was released in 1950.
Baseball spectators often yelled racial slurs at Jackie Robinson.
Jack "Jackie" Roosevelt Robinson was born on January 31, 1919, in Cairo, Georgia.
Jackie Robinson was a six-time All-Star from 1949 until 1954.
Jackie was the youngest of five children.
In 1950 a movie was made called The Jackie Robinson Story. He played himself.
Jackie Robinson attended John Muir High School, where he was placed on the Pomona Annual Baseball Tournament All-Star Team with fellow future MLB Hall of Famers Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox and Bob Lemon of the Cleveland Indians.
Jackie Robinson played in a total of six World Series. His team won in 1955, against the New York Yankees.
Jackie’s brother Mack was an adept athlete and a splendid sprinter.
Jackie Robinson retired in 1956 due to diabetes. He was 37 years old.
In 1942, Jackie Robinson was drafted into the Army.
In 1962 Jackie Robinson was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Jackie Robinson was assigned to a segregated Army Cavalry unit in Fort Riley, Kansas.
Jackie Robinson was heavily involved in the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s.
During his time at the camp, Robinson was encouraged to tryout for the Kansas City Monarchs in the Negro National League.
Jackie Robinson co-founded the Freedom National Bank it was owned and operated by African-Americans.
In 1945, Robinson signed a contract to play for the Kansas City Monarchs.
Jackie Robinson was the first African-American to become a TV sports analyst in 1965.
Robinson played Minor League Baseball for the Montreal Royals in 1946.
Jackie's uniform number 42 was retired on June 4th, 1972.
Jackie Robinson had a close friendship with Larry Doby of the Cleveland Indians, who was the first African-American baseball player in the American League.
On October 24th, 1972 at the age of 53, Jackie Robinson died of a heart attack.
Dodgers teammate Pee Wee Reese defended Robinson against violent and nasty racial slurs during his rookie season.
Jackie's house in Brooklyn was declared a National Historical Landmark in 1976.
On August 29, 1948, in a 12-7 win against the St. Louis Cardinals, Robinson “hit for the cycle” with a home run, a triple, a double, and then a single in the same game.
Asteroid 4319 Jackierobinson is named after Jackie Robinson.
Robinson was the National League Batting and Stolen Bases Champion with a batting average of .342 and 37 stolen bases in 1949.
Jackie Robinson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom on March 26th, 1984.
He was also a six-time All-Star between the years 1949 and 1954.
Jackie Robinson was added to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team in 1999.
Robinson played in six World Series, but only won one in 1955 against the New York Yankees in a seven-game series.
Snow monkeys vary in size depending on the region they inhabit: animals in the southern parts are smaller compared to the animals living in the colder, northern regions of Japan. On average, snow monkeys weigh between 25 and 40 pounds and reach 20 to 23 inches in length.
There are an estimated 150,000 snow monkey living in Japan, a tenfold increase from the World War II era.
Body of the snow monkey is covered with fur, whose color varies from brown to white.
They range from semi-tropical regions of islands south of Kyushu to the forests and mountains of northern Honshu.
Fur covers all parts of their body except faces and rear areas. Red color of the face is a positive sign that animal has reached adulthood.
Hokkaido is too cold for the snow monkeys.
Snow monkeys are omnivores (eat both meat and vegetation). Their diet consists of barks, twigs, fruit, insects, eggs and small mammals.
Their ancestors are believed to have arrived from the Korean peninsula 500,000 to 300,000 years ago, long before the first humans arrived. They arrived mostly from the south and west and adapted to the climate and spread over time.
Snow monkeys live in large groups called troops. Troops can be huge, composed of several hundreds of animals.
The Japanese macaques living in Shimokita Peninsula in Aomori Prefecture in far northern Honshu are the northernmost population of monkeys in the world.
Each troop has a male and female leader. Males establish their dominancy by proving their physical strength and ability to find food for all members of the group. Leader can hold his position for couple of decades. Females establish dominancy by inheriting the ruling position from their mothers or other relatives. This system is called matrilineality.
Their numbers have increased 10-fold in the last 40 years.
Snow monkeys are known as the one of the cleverest species of monkeys. They learn easily and share new skills and hunting (or eating) techniques with other members of the troop and with their offspring.
They are protected but widely regarded as pests. Monkeys that endure very cold weather are also found in the mountains of China.
It has been known that snow monkeys wash sweet potato in the water. Some troops use salty water for this purpose because they prefer salty taste of the food.
Humans have been fascinated with snow monkeys for some time. Representations of macaques have been found on prehistoric pottery. In folklore, such as the famous story about the monkey and the crab, monkeys are portrayed as clever thieves.
When snow monkey collect grains, they need to separate them from the dirt and sand. For this purpose, monkeys put the mixture of grains and dirt in the water and wait for sand and dirt to sink down, and the grains to appear on the surface of the water. As soon as grains appear, they can easily collect them and eat.
Macaques are a kind of monkey that spends most of its time on the ground and has little use of its tail. There are about 60 different species and subspecies and they range from the Atlantic to the Pacific in Eurasia.
Snow monkeys are playful creatures. They often made snowballs and roll them on the ground during the winter. Adult animals also participate in this type of game.
Macaques have a larger brain than other monkeys. This gives them the mental capacity to move their hands and fingers with almost human dexterity and provides them with sophistical hand to eye coordination.
Bonds between members are very tight. During the leisure time, snow monkeys groom each other to remove fleas and insects from the fur. Grooming nourishes the social bonds between animals.
Japanese macaque have pink faces and rumps, grey or burnt amber fur. They have strong teeth and short tails that are only about four inches long. They have a life-span of 30 to 40 years.
During the winter time, snow monkeys gather and hold each other tightly to prevent heat loss.
Adult males are 88 to 95 centimeters tall and weigh 10 to 14 kilograms. Females are 79 to 84 centimeters from head to foot long and weigh between 8 and 10 kilograms. Males have a different shaped face and bright red testicles. Adults males are as strong as a man.
Snow monkeys produce different types of sounds used for communication. Scientists noticed that type of sound depends on the location that monkeys inhabit, such as different dialects in human language.
Snow monkeys can survive in temperatures that drop to as low -14̊C in the winter. They are cloaked in thick, soft fur which consists of an outer layer of course hairs and shorter denser tufts underneath. This thick coat of hair allows them to live so far north.
Snow monkeys reach sexual maturity at the age of four years. Female's rear end turns red as a sign that she is ready for mating. She gives birth to a single baby after 170 to 180 days of pregnancy.
Snow monkeys can live up to 30 years in captivity.
Japanese macaques do not hibernate and normally survive the cold months by feeding on thin shoots and winter buds of deciduous trees. They also strip away the outer bark of trees and eat the inner bark.
The Tuba was invented by Willhelm Friedrich Wieprecht and Johann Gottfried Moritz in September 12, 1835.
In Latin the word 'tuba' means horn or trumpet.
Tubas were introduced into the orchestra to replace the ophicleide, a keyed bugle of the Renaissance age.
A tuba's body consists of the mouthpiece, main tube, valve tube, valves, and the bell.
There was nothing wrong with the ophicleide that required its replacement in the orchestra. Instead, a successful marketing campaign representing the Tuba as a more up-to-date instrument forced its replacement.
The tuba's sound is deep and rich, and it is the lowest-pitched instrument on the brass family.
The tuba is capable of being more than the bass instrument that reinforces the bass string and woodwinds.
A tuba is used to produce the brass section of an orchestra's bass notes. They are usually found in jazz music and in brass bands as well.
Early tubas were altered to possess forward-facing bells in order to make recording the sounds of the instruments easier.
The tubist holds the instrument upright while playing, which is different than the way trombones or trumpets are held.
Tubas come in a variety of pitches ranging from the deep bass of the extremely rare subcontrabass tuba to the much higher pitched tenor tuba.
Tubas became a member of symphony orchestras in the mid-1800s.
Marching bands use a specially designed tuba for ease of carrying.
When tubas became a member of the orchestra they replaced the ophicleide. The ophicleide was perfectly fine as an instrument but clever marketing made the tuba sound more modern and it soon replaced the older ophicleide.
Some marching tubas are convertible, allowing the player to change the direction of the mouthpiece in order to perform with the tuba held in the lap.
Standard tubas have approximately 16 feet of tubing.
Early jazz bands used tubas as a replacement for the stringed bass to avoid exposing the bass to weather extremes when playing outdoors.
The most common tuba keys are F, E flat, CC, or BB-flat. They may have between 3 and 6 valves.
A trumpet weighs about 1.3 kilograms, but a tuba weighs a whopping 13.6 kilograms!
In order to play the tuba properly a tubist requires a lot of breath.
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the largest tuba ensemble had 502 tubists playing together at the same time.
Tubas can be found in a variety of music including tuba quartets, brass ensembles, jazz or pop groups, wind bands, brass bands, and orchestras.
In the 17th century, people played a long, curvy wood pipe with holes in it that looked like a snake. They called this instrument a serpent, which is considered a first version of today’s tubas.
The forward-facing design of the early tuba was created to make it easier to record, and they became known as recording tubas, while unaltered early tubas were known as concert tubas.
You don’t play a tuba by simply blowing into it. You need to make a buzzing sound with your lips.
Tubas can be extremely deep pitched, known as the subcontrabass tuba, or they can be much higher pitched, known as the tenor tuba.
The tuba is the biggest of all the brass musical instruments.
Jazz bands originally began using the tuba at outdoor concerts to replace the stringed bass, which was more easily damaged by bad weather.
The standard tuba has about 16 feet of tubes.
Famous early tuba players include Andy Kirk (swing era), Min Leibrook (jazz tubist), Red Callender (jazz tubist), and William Bell (classical tubist).
It takes a lot of breath to play the tuba. It is one of the loudest instruments in the orchestra but can also play very quietly.
Tubists considered to be some of the best in the world today include Oystein Baadsvik (classical tubist), Roger Bobo (classical tubist), Howard Johnson (jazz tubist), Dave Bargeron (jazz and big band tubist), John Van Houten (orchestral tubist), and John White (experimental and classical tubist).
The tuba usually plays the bass (lowest sounding) part even though it can play relatively high as well.
Some composers who have created tuba concertos include Ralph Vaughan Williams, Eric Ewazen, James Barnes, James Woodward, and Victor Davies.
The tuba is used in all sorts of music and can be found in orchestras, wind bands, brass bands, jazz groups, pop groups, brass ensembles and even in tuba quartets (in groups of 4).
A tuba player in the U.K who plays in an orchestra is referred to as a tuba player. A tuba player in a military band or brass band is referred to as a bass player. In most places a tuba player is simply a tubist or tubaist.