It’s Kwanzaa season, and for those unfamiliar with the African American and pan-African holiday, it’s celebrated for 7 days—December 26-January 1. Based on African first harvest celebrations, Kwanzaa is organized around five fundamental kinds of activities: ingathering of the people; special reverence for the creator and creation; commemoration of the past; recommitment to the highest cultural values; and celebration of the good.
Building on this ancient tradition, Dr. Maulana Karenga, professor and chair of the Department of Africana Studies, CSULB, created Kwanzaa in 1966 as an act of cultural recovery and reconstruction. Kwanzaa—a Swahili word which means “first”—is structured around seven core communitarian African values, the Nguzo Saba (The Seven Principles) which are directed toward reinforcing family, community and culture. The principles are: Umoja (Unity), Kujichagulia (Self-Determination), Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity), and Imani (Faith).
Here are two local Kwanzaa celebrations:
16th Annual Leimert Park Kwanzaa Heritage Festival & Candle Lighting Ceremony
Leimert Park’s annual Kwanzaa festival is back! Features live music, traditional dancing and drum circle, international food court, fashion show, Kwanzaa Marketplace, Health Pavilion & Children’s Village. Block Parade begins at 10:00 AM, followed by Candle Lighting at noon.
December 30, 2017, 10:00 am to 7:00 pm, Leimert Park Village, 4300 Degnan Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90008. This is a free event. For more information, call 323-789-0580 or visit
Kwanzaa Karamu: An African Feast of Fine Foods, Music and Dance
Hosted by the African American Cultural Center, this “Evening in Africa” event features libation, music, dancing, drumming, storytelling, poetry, and African food. Wear your best African attire! Held New Years Eve, December 31, 2017, from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm, Friendship Auditorium, 3201 Riverside Drive, Los Angeles, CA, 90027. Cost: $40, Family Friendly. For more information, call (323) 299-6124 or visit http://africanamericanculturalcenter-la.org/.
For more information about Kwanzaa and other Kwanzaa-related events, visit www.OfficalKwanzaaWebsite.org.