Kwanzaa

2020 Kwanzaa Celebration & Virtual Culture Experience

Wellington will host its first Kwanzaa Celebration and Virtual Culture Experience to bring recognition and awareness of Kwanzaa. This celebration of life, family, community, and culture is a partnership between Freedom Fighters 4 Justice and the Village. 

Wellington invites residents to tune to WellingtonTV (Comcast 18, AT&T Uverse 99) and follow the Village on social media, starting Saturday, December 26, to watch pre-recorded videos about the culture of Kwanzaa. 

Community members and leaders from all walks of life come together in celebration of African-American culture and traditions. 

Featured Guests and Activites 

  • Genee Tinsley founder of Freedom Fighters 4 Justice: providing an overview of Kwanzaa 
  • Day 1 Kinara Lighting: Unity- Umoja
  • Day 2 Kinara Lighting: Self Determination- Kujichagulia
  • Day 3 Kinara Lighting: Collective Work and responsibility- Ujima
  • Day 4 Kinara Lighting: Cooperative Economics- Ujamaa
  • Day 5 Kinara Lighting: Purpose- Nia
  • Day 6 Kinara Lighting: Creativity- Kuumba
  • Day 7 Kinara Lighting: Faith- Imani
  • Special performances by local musicians 
  • And much more


For more information on performers, vendors, and literature featured in this Kwanzaa Celebration, please visit the Freedom Fighters 4 Justice website

Wellington residents are also invited to stop by the Kinara display at the Wellington Amphitheater throughout the month of December. 

History of Kwanzaa

Kwanzaa is an annual celebration of African-American culture which is held from December 26 to January 1, culminating in gift-giving and a feast of faith, called Karamu Ya Imani. It was created by Maulana Karenga and first celebrated in 1966. 

The name Kwanzaa is derived from the phrase “matunda ya kwanza” which means “first fruits” in Swahili. Each family celebrates Kwanzaa in its own way, but celebrations often include 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 is discussed. The principles, called the Nguzo Saba (seven principles in Swahili) are values of African culture which contribute to building and reinforcing community among African-Americans. Kwanzaa also has seven basic symbols that represent values and concepts reflective of African culture. An African feast, called a Karamu, is held on December 31.

The candle-lighting ceremony each evening provides the opportunity to gather and discuss the meaning of Kwanzaa. The first night, the black candle in the center is lit (and the principle of Umoja/unity is discussed). One candle is lit each evening and the appropriate principle is discussed.

Seven Principles

The seven principles or Nguzo Saba are a set of ideals created by Dr. Maulana Karenga. Each day of Kwanzaa emphasizes a different principle.

Unity: Umoja (oo–MO–jah)

To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.

Self-determination: Kujichagulia (koo–gee–cha–goo–LEE–yah)

To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves.

Collective Work and Responsibility: Ujima (oo–GEE–mah)

To build and maintain our community together and make our brother’s and sister’s problems our problems and to solve them together.

Cooperative Economics: Ujamaa (oo–JAH–mah)

To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.

Purpose: Nia (nee–YAH)

To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.

Creativity: Kuumba (koo–OOM–bah)

To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.

Faith: Imani (ee–MAH–nee)

To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.