Kwanzaa unites Black and African cultures


Creative Commons

Kwanzaa alter set up for celebration of the holiday on Dec. 27, 2011.

Kwanzaa is an annual celebration that takes place from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1 that consists of storytelling, gift-giving, traditional music, candle lighting, and a large feast.

The holiday has honored African heritage, unity, and culture since 1966 after its creator, Dr. Maulana Karenga, searched for ways to unify African Americans and Africans. 

“Kwanzaa is a beautiful spiritual holiday about black people coming into a new life,” said junior Andrea Penny.

According to USA Today, many families will hold virtual Kwanzaa celebrations due to the pandemic which has disproportionately affected African Americans, and also after months of protesting systemic racism and police brutality in order to connect and remember those lost.

“Kwanzaa unites black people through the seven principles, Nguzo Saba, where one is discussed on each of the seven nights after families gather and a child lights one of the candles on the Kinara,” said Andrea.

The holiday also has seven symbols that represent the values and concepts of African culture such as family relations and ancestry that can be represented on the alters. 

“Kwanzaa unites Black people and cleanses us for the new year,” said Andrea.