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What is Kwanzaa?

Like in many societies, people celebrate traditions and holidays to recognize their culture and create unity. 
Kwanzaa (from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1) was created in 1966 as a way for Black people to acknowledge the best of what it means to be African and human in the fullest sense. Kwanzaa gets its name from the Swahili phrase, “matunda ya kwanza” and is rooted in first-fruit celebrations, which are found in African cultures both in ancient and modern times. The 2022 theme is “Kwanzaa, Culture and the Practice of Freedom: A Message and Model For Our Times.” Kwanzaa was not created as an alternative to religious beliefs or the observance of religious holidays, but it is celebrated by more than 30 million people of African descent worldwide.
The Seven Principles (Nguzo Saba)
Kwanzaa has seven basic symbols and values that draw on the Swahili language, one of Africa’s most widely spoken languages. The central belief is that these values are universal truths and a universal way of life. These principles, also known as Nguzo Saba, are: 
Day 1 Umoja (Unity): Unity of the family, community, nation, and race
Day 2 Kujichagulia (Self-Determination): Being responsible for your conduct and behavior
Day 3 Ujima (Collective work and responsibility): Working to help one another and the community
Day 4 Ujamaa (Cooperative economics): Working to build shops and businesses. Many who celebrate Kwanzaa will actively shop from Black businesses.
Day 5 Nia (Purpose): Remembering and restoring African and African American cultures, customs, and history
Day 6 Kuumba (Creativity): To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it
Day 7 Imani (Faith): Believing in people, families, leaders, teachers, and the righteousness of the African American struggle.
Candle Lighting 
A candle is lit each day to highlight that day’s principle and bring meaning into the principles with various activities, such as reciting the sayings, reciting original poetry by Black authors, or sharing a meal of African-inspired foods. 
The table is decorated with the symbols of Kwanzaa, such as the Kinara (Candle Holder), Mkeka (Mat), Muhindi (corn to represent the children), Mazao (fruit to represent the harvest), and Zawadi (gifts). 
One might also see the colors of the Pan-African flag, red (the struggle), black (the people), and green (the future), represented throughout the space and in the clothing worn by participants. These colors were first proclaimed to be the colors for all people of the African diaspora by Marcus Garvey, a Jamaican-born Black nationalist and leader of the Pan-Africanism movement, which sought to unify and connect people of African descent worldwide.

Why Celebrate Kwanzaa
Kwanzaa is a chance for families and communities to come together to share a feast, honor their ancestors, and celebrate African and African American culture. The principles are great learning lessons for children based on values instead of consumerism. 
Here are a few Kwanzaa celebrations happening in San Antonio. 
Dec. 27 from 4 pm to 5 pm – Kwanzaa Celebration for Children at the Carver Library, 3350 East Commerce Street. There is something for everyone, from arts and crafts to games and storytelling. The event is hosted by the Friends of the Carver and the Pan African Cultural Community.
Dec. 27 from 4 
pm to 6 pm – Join SAAACAM (San Antonio African American Community Archive & Museum) at the Witte Museum for a Kwanzaa Celebration with The Haus of Glitter Dance Company. The Haus of Glitter will also be holding space for a song workshop to share musical heritage from the African Diaspora and their creative practice. The Haus of Glitter Dance Company (based in Providence, RI) works, through movement and choreography, to shift the energetic center of the universe towards Queer Feminist BIPOC Liberation. 
Dec. 30 from 2 pm to 3:30 pm – Community Kwanzaa Celebration hosted by the Pan African Cultural Community at 3455 Martin Luther King Drive. Immerse yourself in unity, creativity, and purpose as they light the Kinara and engage in meaningful discussions, performances, and activities. Experience the rhythmic beats of African drums, colorful traditional attire, and delicious food. The event is hosted by the Pan-African Cultural Community, a local nonprofit. 
Jan. 6 from 7 pm to midnight – Join the Alpha Tau Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. at its upcoming Kwanzaa Celebration at the Embassy Suites hotel at 7810 New Braunfels Ave. The event will feature DJ 151, dancing, food, and fellowship. African-inspired attire is encouraged. 

Caleb Alexander is a successful ghostwriter and author who has penned numerous best sellers. He has written several novels that have landed on The New York Times Bestsellers List. His debut title, "Eastside," was handpicked by literary giant and publishing powerhouse Zane to launch the "Strebor on the Streetz" publication line for publishing giant Simon & Schuster. His second novel was also published by Simon & Schuster. Between launching publishing lines and publishing companies, Caleb has written several screenplays and television scripts for numerous publications and periodicals nationwide.

Caleb is the creative writing facilitator at SOBA Recovery Centers and is currently penning his 50th novel. He’s also the creative force behind two mega projects of Malibu Films, a production house and recording studio. Caleb also recently created a show hosted by comedian and actor Andy Dick! This prolific author and literary legend resides with his family in San Antonio, Texas.