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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 2-minute 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 7th day of Kwanzaa, Imani or faith


The seventh day of Kwanzaa celebrates the principle upon which all others rest. On this first day of January, we celebrate Imani (ee-MAH-nee) which means faith. Imani (ee-MAH-nee) challenges people to believe in each other with all our hearts, and honor the righteousness and victory of their struggle. It is the profound and enduring belief in, and commitment to, family, community, people and culture.

Imani is the foundation for the celebration and practice of the seven principles of Kwanzaa, and each of the Mishumaa saba (mee-shoo-MAH-ah  SAH-ba) or seven candles, represents one of these principles. Although not a celebration originating in any of the African countries, nor an “African” Christmas, Kwanzaa was introduced in the United States in 1966 as an African-American response to the commercialism of Christmas, with more similarities to the American Thanksgiving.

Although the cultural celebration of Kwanzaa takes place on the seven days from December 26th through January 1st, the principles and practices of Kwanzaa can be applied to life on a daily basis. It is not only about recognizing the past, but also embracing the creativity and community that can lead us into a better future for all.

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.