Kwanzaa

Kwanzaa is a non-religious African-American holiday which celebrates family, community, and culture. It is celebrated for seven days: Dec. 26-Jan. 1.

Kwanzaa is derived from the phrase "matunda ya kwanza" which means "first fruits" in Swahili. Each family and community celebrates Kwanzaa in its own way, often including songs and dances, African drums, storytelling, poetry reading, and a large traditional meal. On each of the seven nights, the family gathers and a child lights one of the candles on the Kinara (candleholder). Then one of the seven principles of African culture which contribute to building and reinforcing community among African-Americans (Nguzo Saba) is discussed.

The seven principles are unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith. On the campus, Kwanzaa is celebrated on the Saturday before finals week. This celebration takes the form of a special chapel service on the Friday which emphasizes importance to the community. The Saturday is a traditional style feast with music, poetry, dancing and a speech focused on the principles and their relevance today. Individuals have been heard to remark that this is one of their favorite events at Luther.