Hale Black Cultural Center Pre-Kwanzaa Celebration

Kwanzaa candles with book listing the 7 principles of Kwanzaa

Pre-Kwanzaa Celebration at the Frank W. Hale Black Cultural Center

Kwanzaa was created in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga, professor and chairman of Black Studies at California State University, Long Beach. Karenga combined aspects of a plethora of harvest celebrations, such as those of the Ashanti and those of the Zulu African tribes, to form the basis of Kwanzaa. Kwanzaa is a derivative of the phrase “matunda ya kwanza” which means “first fruits” in Swahili. Families celebrate Kwanzaa in their own unique way, but celebrations often include songs and dances, African drums, poetry reading, storytelling, and a large traditional meal called a Karamu. On each of the seven nights, everyone gathers and one of the candles on the Kinara (candleholder) is lighted, then one of the seven principles is discussed. The principles, called the Nguzo Saba (seven principles in Swahili) are values of African culture which contribute to constructing and solidifying community among African-Americans. Kwanzaa has seven basic symbols that represent values and concepts reflective of African culture.

We will be highlighting the seven principles, or Nguzo Saba, created by Dr. Karenga. Each day of Kwanzaa emphasizes a different principle. The principles are:

Unity: Umoja (oo–MO–jah)

To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.

Self-determination: Kujichagulia (koo–gee–cha–goo–LEE–yah)

To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves.

Collective Work and Responsibility: Ujima (oo–GEE–mah)

To build and maintain our community together and make our brother's and sister's problems our problems and to solve them together.

Cooperative Economics: Ujamaa (oo–JAH–mah)

To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.

Purpose: Nia (nee–YAH)

To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.

Creativity: Kuumba (koo–OOM–bah)

To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.

Faith: Imani (ee–MAH–nee)

To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.

Need accommodations?

If you have a disability and require accommodations to fully participate in this activity, please send an email to ODIHBCC@osu.edu. You will be contacted by someone from our staff to discuss your specific needs. Requests made 10 days prior to the event will generally allow us to provide seamless access, but the university will make every effort to meet requests made after this date.

Photo by soulchristmas on Foter