Kwanzaa is an African American and Pan-African holiday (12/26 - 1/1) celebrating history, values, family, community and culture. Join us as we seek people and places that exemplify Kwanzaa’s seven principles. Follow the links for family activities.Less
During the week of Kwanzaa, families and communities come together to share a feast, to honor the ancestors, affirm the bonds between them, and to celebrate African and African American culture. Each day they light a candle to highlight the principle of that day and to breathe meaning into the principles with activities such as reciting the sayings or writings of great black thinkers and writers, reciting original poetry, African drumming, and sharing a meal of African diaspora-inspired foods.
Day 1 - Umoja (Unity) is the 1st principle of Kwanzaa. Umoja reminds us that when we come together to live, work, share, and learn, we are stronger. This chef’s jacket belonged to Chef Leah Chase who owned Dooky Chase Restaurant in Louisiana. Her restaurant has always been a place for all kinds of people to enjoy a delicious meal and practice Umoja. Chef Leah believed that, “We can talk to each other and relate to each other when we eat together.” Click below for a family activity.
Day 2 - Kujichagulia (Self-Determination), the 2nd principle of Kwanzaa, reminds us that when we stay determined and keep trying, even when things are hard or we make mistakes, we can accomplish great things! With hard work, bravery and determination, Charles Bolden became an astronaut in 1986, something very few African Americans had ever done. He spent over 680 hours in space and was later appointed NASA Administrator. Maj. Gen. Bolden reminds us we can do amazing things with Kujichagulia.
Day 3 - Ujima (Collective work & Responsibility), the 3rd principle of Kwanzaa, reminds us that helping each other and working together to solve problems is important. What are the people in the photo doing? Can you tell how they are practicing Ujima? The people in these pictures are marching! When groups of people march to protest something that they feel is unfair, they are working together to solve a problem. Click the link for a family activity and recipes.
Day 4 - Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics) encourages us to create businesses, open stores and make products to help and share with our communities. Madame C.J. Walker wanted other Black women to feel beautiful and to be able to take good care of their hair - but there weren't many healthy hair products available at the time. So she designed her own! She started a successful hair care business and hired other Black women to work with her to share items like creams, oils and shampoos all over the US.
Day 5 - Nia (Purpose) encourages us to make building and bettering our communities the purpose of all that we do. Martin Luther King, Jr. lived his life with purpose! He wanted to see the US become a place where all people were treated equally no matter the color of their skin. Everyday he worked for what he believed in, talking to people and peacefully protesting things inequality. Today, we can make creating a more fair world our purpose and continue the work of Martin Luther King, Jr.!
Day 6 - Kuumba (Creativity) reminds us that we all can use our creativity to make our communities and the world around us a better and more beautiful place. This dress belonged to singer Celia Cruz. Celia was known for her vibrant style, her strong voice, and her energetic performances. Celia used her creativity to express herself and celebrate her culture and community!
Day 7 - Imani (Faith) tells us how important it is to have faith so we can do amazing things and make the world a better place for all. Even when we can't see exactly how something will work out, with faith, we believe it will! Though an African American had never become president in the US before, Barack Obama, African Americans, and so many others believed it could happen. In 2008, people practiced lmani, worked together, and voted to elect Barack Obama the 44th President of the United States.