All about Kwanzaa (36828)

Several events around the city are being held in observance of Kwanzaa. The week-long African-American heritage celebration begins on Dec. 26 and goes through Jan. 1. Kwanzaa was created by African-American scholar Dr. Maulana Karenga and first celebrated in 1967. 2011 commemorates the 45th anniversary of Kwanzaa The celebration highlights seven principles represented by red, black and green candles in a holder called a kinara. Each day during Kwanzaa one principle is recognized.

The principles are:

Umoja (Unity): To strive for and to maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.

Kujichagulia (Self-Determination): To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves stand up.

Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility): To build and maintain our community together and make our brothers’ and sisters’ problems our problems, and to solve them together.

Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics): To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.

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

Kuumba (Creativity): 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.

Imani (Faith): To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.

American Museum of Natural History Kwanzaa Celebration

On Saturday, Dec. 31 the Museum of Natural History is hosting its annual Kwanzaa celebration along with Community Works and the New HeritageTheatre Group. Festivities are from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life on the first floor. The event is free with museum admission and includes performances by musical and dance group Something Positive, The Brooklyn Steppers, the Restoration Dance Theatre Company and the ADLIB Steel Orchestra.

Kwanzaa creator Dr. Maulana Karenga comes to Brooklyn

The National Association of Kawaida Organizations presents “Kwanzaa and the Principles, Sharing and Sustaining the World,” Tues., Dec. 27, 5:30-9:30 p.m. Celebrate the 45th anniversary of Kwanzaa with the creator of Kwanzaa, Kawaida and the Nguzo Saba, the brilliant Dr. Maulana Karenga. Also featuring the Universal African Dance and Drum Ensemble and others. At Boys & Girls High School, 1700 Fulton St., Brooklyn. For information and directions, call (718) 789-3264.

Kwanzaa at the Apollo Theater

The Apollo Theater is presenting its 5th Annual “Regeneration Night” Kwanzaa Celebration on Friday, Dec. 30 at 7:30 p.m. The event will be hosted by radio personality Imhotep Gary Byrd from WBLS and will feature performances by Forces of Nature Dance Theater, Craig Harris and Tailgaters Tales, Michael Wimberly and Yacuba Sissko and dancers from the Harlem Children’s Zone. Tickets are $16. For more information go to or call (212) 531-5305.

Kwanzaa with the National Action Network

The Disabilities and Political Action Committee of the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network (NAN) is hosting a Kwanzaa celebration on Saturday, Dec. 31 at 12 p.m. at NAN’s House of Justice in Harlem. The event will also serve as coat drive for New York Cares’ along with a cultural market place. Cultural performances will begin at 12:30 p.m. by the NAN Change Choir along with African dancing. Dr. John Bolling, executive director of the Mandala Soul-Cultrual Institute, will serve as keynote speaker for the event.

Kwanzaa in Queens

The Afrikan Poetry Theatre, in conjunction with Cultural Caravan Productions Heritage Ministries (IAMU), presents “Harare 2012” (“To be vigilant, watchful”) Sat., Dec. 31. Doors open at 8 p.m., program is 9 p.m.-2 a.m. A celebration of Kuumba and Imani featuring family entertainment, drumming, dancing, food, honoring African elders and educators including Brother Bernard White and Eileen Edwards Quaye and much more. Free admission with a free-will offering, at the Afrikan Poetry Theatre, 176-03 Jamaica Ave., Jamaica, Queens. For more information, call (718) 523-3312.