Yesterday, Dec. 26, marked the first day of Kwanzaa, a holiday created by Dr. Maulana Karenga in 1966. The celebration lasts a week (ending January 1) and honors the African heritage. At the end of the week, there is a big feast with plenty of gifts.
As families celebrate #Kwanzaa in Brooklyn and beyond, let's all reflect on the principles of #umoja (unity), #kujichagulia (self-determination), #ujima (collective work and responsibility), #ujaama (collective economics), #nia (purpose), #kuumba (creativity), and #imani (faith). pic.twitter.com/4caeJrCXcn
— Eric Adams (@BPEricAdams) December 26, 2018
What makes this holiday so special is that each day of the week corresponds to one core principle, referred to as the Nguzo Saba, meaning “Seven Principles” in Swahili. The first principle is Umoja, which means unity. Then comes Kujichagulia – self-determination; Ujima, meaning collective work and responsibility; Ujamaa – cooperative economics; Nia – purpose; Kuumba – creativity; and Imani, which means faith.
Each night, a candle on the Kinara is lit. The Kinara has seven candles corresponding to the seven principles of the seven days. A black candle is in the middle, with three red candles on the left, and three green ones on the right. The black candle is lit first, and then it alternates between the red and green candles beginning with the ones outside and moving inwards.
To celebrate in Brooklyn, there are a couple of exciting events happening! Yesterday was the annual Kwanzaa Crawl where people supported black-owned bars in the borough. The Brooklyn Children’s Museum is also holding events and special performances all throughout the week. You can view them here.
On Saturday, Dec. 29, there will be Kwanzaa Fest BK, a “place where you can be proud of your heritage, engage in your community, and still have a great time. Kwanzaa Fest BK is a party, but a party for a purpose.” Kwanzaa Fest BK will include a visual art exhibit, a film screening, and several performances, and is taking place at 7 pm at National Sawdust, the music venue on 80 N 6th St. You can get your tickets here.
Wishing all who celebrate a very happy Kwanzaa from us at Bklyner!