The Celebration of Kwanzaa Begins Today


Kwanzaa is an African-American celebration of life from December 26-January 1. The festival was introduced to the United States in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga, a black nationalist and professor of Pan-African studies at California State University at Long Beach, as a ritual to welcome the first harvests to the home. Dr. Karenga created this festival for African-Americans as a response to the commercialism of Christmas.

Kwanzaa is  seven-day non-religious holiday meant to honor African Americans’ ancestral roots. The name comes from the Swahili phrase “matunda ya kwanza,” which means “first fruits.”

The holiday is defined by Nguzo Saba, or the seven principles. Each day of the festival is dedicated to a specific principle, marked by lighting a new candle on the kinara, a seven-branched candelabra.

The seven principles of Kwanzaa include: Umoja Unity (Swahili), Kujichagulia Self-determination, Ujima Collective work and responsibility, uplifting your community, Ujamaa Cooperative economics. Nia Purpose, Kuumba, Creativity, Imani Faith.

To learn what Kwanzaa is all about, the Flint Odyssey House is hosting an event celebrating the Nguzo Saba with the Flint community. Each day they will have a different presenter who will facilitate the daily principle. The free event is open to the public and a meal and gift is provided for children every day. The event is hosted by Artistic Visions Enterprise. The Flint Odyssey House is located at 529 M. L. King Ave in Flint.


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