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What is Kwanzaa?

Kwanzaa is a distinctive American holiday that honors the rich cultural heritage of African Americans. It is a celebration of unity, heritage, and community.


When is Kwanzaa observed?


Kwanzaa spans from December 26th through January 1st, encompassing seven days of reflection and festivity.


Who founded Kwanzaa?


Dr. Maulana Ron Karenga founded Kwanzaa in 1966. Dr. Karenga, a Black Studies professor and cultural Black nationalist, envisioned a holiday that would strengthen the bonds of African American communities.


Is Kwanzaa a religious holiday?


No, Kwanzaa is not a religious holiday. It stands apart as a cultural celebration, free from any religious or political affiliations.


What is Kwanzaa based on?


Kwanzaa centers around seven fundamental principles known as the 'Nguzo Saba.' These principles guide daily living and include Umoja (unity), Kujichagulia (self-determination), Ujima (collective work and responsibility), Ujamaa (cooperative economics), Nia (purpose), Kuumba (creativity), and Imani (faith)..


Are gifts exchanged during Kwanzaa?


Gift-giving is not a customary practice during Kwanzaa. Instead, the holiday encourages reflection on the principles and heritage it represents.


How is Kwanzaa observed?


Kwanzaa can be observed in various ways, but here's a suggested approach:

  • Decorate your home in the traditional colors of red, black, and green.

  • Set up a Kwanzaa table with a kinara (candle holder), mkeka (place mat), mazao (fruit), vibunzi (ears of corn), zawadi (gifts), kikombe cha umoja (unity cup), and mishumaa saba (seven candles).

  • Each day of Kwanzaa, discuss the principle for that day. For example, on Umoja (unity) night, explore the concept of unity as a family.

  • Light the corresponding candle, with a different family member volunteering to discuss the principle's meaning and importance each day.

  • Activities for adults and children can vary each day, focusing on cultural and heritage-building endeavors.

Kwanzaa is a remarkable holiday that celebrates African American culture, unity, and the timeless principles that inspire meaningful living. We invite you to join us on December 29th for our 3rd Annual Kwanzaa Celebration at the African American Research Library and Cultural Center of Palm Beach County. Let's come together to embrace the spirit of Kwanzaa, fostering unity, self-determination, and a deep appreciation for our shared heritage.

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