Kwanzaa 2023

Last Updated December 26, 2023

Kwanzaa: Tuesday, December 26, 2023 – Monday, January 1, 2023

We are sending this note as part of our ongoing work to learn more about the wonderful diversity of our staff and those we serve, through sharing information about various special days and months recognized around the world.

The beginning of winter brings a multitude of holidays to celebrate which include Hanukkah – the Jewish eight-day holiday, Christmas Day – an annual commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ, and Kwanzaa – a seven-night holiday that honors African American and Pan-African culture and tradition. 

Kwanzaa is a celebration of life held each year from December 26 to January 1. The name Kwanzaa is derived from the phrase matunda ya kwanza which means first fruits, or harvest, in Swahili. Highlighting African heritage, Kwanzaa carries the salt of a culture unearthed and conditioned, allowing new thoughts of deep reflection on the origins of the collective community. Celebrations often include singing and dancing, storytelling, poetry reading, African drumming, and feasting.

A popular tradition during Kwanzaa is the lighting of a kinara. The kinara holds seven guiding principles to be discussed during the week of Kwanzaa that represent seven values of African culture that help build and reinforce community. The core principles are unity (umoja), self-determination (kujichagulia), collective work and responsibility (ujima), cooperative economics (ujamaa), purpose (nia), creativity (kuumba), and faith (Imani).

Other traditions include giving gifts to children like books or things of cultural value and preparing for and sharing food during the feast of faith, also called Karamu Ya Imani, that takes place during the sixth day. Popular foods to enjoy during Kwanzaa are African creole, Cajun catfish, jerk chicken, and groundnut stew.

For more information, check out:

Hear what Kwanzaa means for Black Americans HERE

Events Celebrating Kwanzaa in Los Angeles

Hoping Kwanzaa brings you time to enjoy the blessings of family, community, and togetherness.

Happy Kwanzaa,
June Simmons and the Executive Staff

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