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Kwanzaa is an African American and pan-African seven-day cultural festival that is celebrated every December 26 to January 1. Like most festivals, Kwanzaa incorporates music as an essential element of its celebration. The purpose of Kwanzaa is to celebrate African American heritage, family and community.Each of the seven 2½ min segments of The Seven Principles of Kwanzaa focuses on the specific principle of that day/date, and sheds a bit of light on either the principle itself, or some element of the celebration. The goal of these segments is to introduce audiences to the celebration and encourage an understanding of inclusion and diverse perspectives.

The 2nd day of Kwanzaa, Kujichagulia or self-determination

Kwanzaa 2
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On this second day of Kwanzaa, we focus on the Mishumaa saba (mee-shoo-MAH-ah  SAH-ba), the seven candles of the Kinara (kee-NAH-rah) or candleholder, that represent the seven principles of Kwanzaa. Each day the black center candle, that represents Umoja (Oo-MO-jah) or Unity, is lit first. The Kinara also holds three red candles to the left of the black candle, and three green candles to the right. The red candles represent the struggle and the noble blood that unites all people of African ancestry. The three green candles represent the Earth and the abundance of possibilities for the future.

On December 27th, the second day of Kwanzaa, celebrants gather to celebrate the principle of kujichagulia (koo-jee-chah-goo-LEE-ah), which means self-determination. A red candle is lit, representing the defining, naming, creating and speaking for ourselves.

Family traditions vary in the order the candles are lit, but no matter the tradition, the black candle, which represents the people, is always lit first on each night of the celebration. On successive nights, some families light the candles from left to right beginning with the leftmost of the three red candles, which represent the struggle the people endured. This order of lighting signifies that people come first, then struggle, and then hope, represented by the green candles. Others families alternate between red and green candles, beginning with the leftmost of the red candles, then the rightmost of the three green candles, symbolizing that there is hope even in the midst of struggle.

WXXI celebrates Kwanzaa and the principles that reflect and recommit to the collective achievement of a better life for our families, community and our people.