Celebrate Kwanzaa with DPL!

Matunda ya kwanza means first fruits in Swahili

Founded in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga, Kwanzaa combines aspects of several different harvest festivals into a seven-day celebration of family, community and culture from December 26 to January 1. Each night of Kwanzaa, a candle in the Kinara (candleholder) is lit and one of seven principles, or Nguzo Saba, are discussed. While every family may celebrate differently, each principle is rooted in universal beliefs that are found in every culture.

To learn more about the Seven Principles of Kwanzaa, download your free coloring packet now!

Additionally, there are seven symbols associated with Kwanzaa and are also expressed in Swahili. Mazao, (fruits, vegetables, and nuts), mkeka (place mat), the kinara (candleholder), vibunzi (ear of corn), zawadi (gifts), kikombe cha umoja (communal cup of unity), and mishumbaa saba (the seven candles placed in the kinara). During Kwanzaa it is customary to greet others by saying “Habari Gani?”(What is the news?), to which the appropriate response is to say the name of the principle of the day.

Browse our catalog for books, videos, and more about Kwanzaa.

Kwanzaa Activities

Habari Gani? Come take part in a virtual, cross-cultural experience highlighting the principles of Kwanzaa with local artist and guest host, Jawana Norris, and more daily special guests!

Saturday 12/26

2 p.m

Celebrate Umoja (Unity) with a special performance by Cleo Parker Robinson Dance

Pickup an Umoja (Unity) Necklace Craft Kit at Pauline Robinson Branch Library while supplies last

Curbside Hours: Saturday - 12/26, 10a-2:30p; Tuesday - 12/29, 10a - 5:30p; Wednesday - 12/30, 10a-5:30p; Thursday - 12/31, 10a-3:30p

Sunday 12/27

2 p.m

Celebrate Kujichagulia (Self-Determination) with herbalist Monticue Connally of Jiridon Apothecary

Monday 12/28

2 p.m

Celebrate Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility) with Beverly Grant of Mo’ Betta Green Marketplace

Tuesday 12/29

2 p.m.

Celebrate Ujaama (Cooperative Economics) with Fathima Dickerson of Welton Street Cafe

Wednesday 12/30

2 p.m.

Celebrate Nia (Purpose) with Vernon Jones of Faithbridge

Thursday 12/31

2 p.m.

Celebrate Kuumba (Creativity) with vocalist, Jubilee Renee

Although we won’t have an event on Friday, January 1, we still encourage you to celebrate Imani (Faith) by honoring and remembering the past while stepping into the New Year!


Written by dbrooks on December 11, 2020