Week-long celebration of Kwanzaa now underway

Seven principles celebrated in festival, dating back to the 1960s

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The seven-day celebration of Kwanzaa began Monday. The holiday started in the 1960s to honor African and African-American culture, history, and heritage. It always begins on December 26.

The holiday is marked by participants lighting a candle holder known as a kinara. Over the week, Kwanzaa honors one of each of the seven principles known as Nguzo Saba. Those principles are:

  • Unity
  • Self determination
  • Collective work and responsibility
  • Cooperative economics
  • Purpose
  • Creativity
  • Faith

The principle for the first day of Kwanzaa is unity, which strives for better connections between families, community, and the nation. While Kwanzaa is not religiously-based, it highlights the cultural pride of the African-American community.

A public Kwanzaa celebration will be held Friday from noon to 2:00 P.M. at the UMass Center at Springfield, located at Tower Square.