Created in 1966, Kwanzaa, meaning first fruits of harvest in Swahili, is a week-long celebration that honors African-American and black culture. It starts on December 26th and ends in the new year on January 1st. Mrs. Freddie Hamilton says she’s been celebrating the holiday since the very beginning.
“It helps us to focus on our heritage, it connects us to our roots, which is africa, and it helps us to establish principles, here for lifestyle principles, here in america. And so i think it’s a wonderful event for families and so i’ve always celebrated it.” – Freddie Hamilton, Board Chair, Redbuilding the Village
The holiday is comprised of seven core principles. Each day a candle is lit in a Kinar, a 7-branched candlabra, to represent the different principles.
“Today the principle is Kujichagulia which is self-determination. Yesterday was the first day of Kwanzaa, and that represents unity, Umoja. Tomorrow we will be doing Ujima which is collective work and responsibility. Next we have Ujamaa, cooperative economics, then Nia, Kuumba creativity.” – Freddie Hamilton, Board Chair, Redbuilding the Village
And the final day is Imani, meaning faith. In some cases small sentimental gifts are exchanged throughout the week. The holiday typically concludes with a big party. This year the Rebuilding the Village organization will be holding their 3rd annual Kwanzaa celebration and feature a group of panelists.
“The panel is the highlight of the event because it allows us to focus, and the panelists come with a great deal of expertise and knowledge about the needs of the African-American community. They also come with a great deal of information about Kwanzaa and how we grasp the principles to make out lives better.” – Patrick Johnson, Member of Rebuilding the Village
The Kwanzaa celebration takes place this Saturday from noon until 4 pm right here at cornerstone community church. Although geared towards celebrating African-American and black culture, everyone who wants to come is welcome.