Kwanzaa in Minneapolis


Celebrating Kwanzaa this year? Come on down to the Global Market for Kwanzaa: A Celebration of Culture, Community, and Family. Festivities begin on Friday, December 26th, and include a drumming and dancing ceremony at 10:30 am, a Kwanzaa overview and poetry by Elder Naima Richmond and candle lighting ceremony at 11 am, a fashion show at noon, youth performances of spoken word, poetry, dance, and vocals at 1pm, and children’s activities and face painting from 4pm-8pm. There will also be activities on December 27-31 at noon and in the evenings.

The word “Kwanzaa” derives from Swahili and as a holiday was developed in the Black Nationalist Movement in the 1960s by Ron Karenga, an African American author and activist. The holiday has grown in popularity over the years and is now a mainstream holiday.

The seven principles of Kwanzaa are Umaja (unity), Kujichagulia (self-determination), Ujima (collective work and responsibility), Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity), and Imani (Faith).

Perspectives on Kwanzaa
Kwanzaa is more relevant than ever in recession, writes Starita Smith in The Progressive. Her reasons include:

“For example, after almost a decade of rampant materialism and competition, we need cooperation — or “cooperative economics,” in Kwanzaa terms — to get through the downturn. This means helping local businesses and joining co-ops and working in such endeavors as community gardens.

“Similarly, “collective work and responsibility” means helping one another within our communities. And “creativity” means not just using our imagination for artistic purposes but also for making our communities better.”

Sheila Regan is a theater artist based in Minneapolis. When not performing or writing, she serves as educational coordinator for Teatro del Pueblo.