What is Kwanzaa? And How to Celebrate in Prince George's County

Kwanzaa is celebrated in the United States from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1.

The seven-day festival of Kwanzaa, which celebrates African-American heritage and culture, starts Wednesday, Dec. 26 and ends Tuesday, Jan. 1. Here are some facts about the week-long holiday.

  • Kwanzaa was created in 1966 by Maulana Karenga, now chair of California State University Long Beach's Department of Africana Studies, in what he called "an audacious act of self-determination."
  • The name "Kwanzaa" comes from the Swahili phrase "matunda ya kwanza," which means "first fruits."
  • Kwanzaa's focus is the "Nguzo Saba," or the Seven Principles—unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.
  • During the week, a candelabrum called a Kinara is lit, and ears of corn representing each child in the family are placed on a traditional straw mat.
  • African foods such as millet, spiced pepper balls and rice are often served. Some people fast during the holiday and a feast is often held on its final night.
  • A flag with three bars—red for the struggle for freedom, black for unity, and green for the future—is sometimes displayed during the holiday.
  • Kwanzaa is based on the theory of Kawaida, which espouses that social revolutionary change for black America can be achieved by exposing blacks to their cultural heritage.
  • A poll commissioned by the National Retail Federation and conducted by BIGresearch from Oct. 4 to Oct. 11 found that 2 percent of the 8,585 adults surveyed said they would celebrate Kwanzaa, compared to 90.5 percent who celebrate Christmas and 5.4 percent who celebrate Hanukkah.


Kwanzaa Celebration

When: December 27, 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Rollingcrest-Chillum Community Center

6120 Sargent Road, Chillum 20782


Elegba: Kwanzaa Celebration

When: December 28 and 29 at 8 p.m.

Where: Publick Playhouse at 5445 Landover Road in Cheverly, MD.

What: "Richmond's Elegba Folklore Society's dances and drummers celebrate African and African-American cultures and the Diaspora experience to understand the present by valuing the past," according to Prince George's M-NCPPC.

Tickets: $10 per person; $8 for seniors, students & groups of 15 or more.


Tell Us: Do you have any thoughts or ideas about Kwanzaa that you'd like to share? Please write them in the comments section below. This list was compiled with information from City News Service.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something