BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Kwanzaa celebrations begin the day after Christmas. The week-long celebration focuses on African-American heritage.
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 which represent values and concepts reflective of African culture.
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.
Below is a list of Kwanzaa events in Buffalo, NY. All of the events will begin at 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, December 26, 2010, Opening Ceremony at Buffalo Academy for the Visual and Performing Arts, 450 Masten Avenue
Monday, December 27, 2010, The African American Cultural Center, 350 Masten Avenue
Tuesday, December 28, 2010, Frank E. Merriweather Library, 1324 Jefferson Avenue (THE CREATOR OF KWANZAA WILL SPEAK)
Wednesday, December 29, 2010, Ha'niah Tabernacle, 900 Genesse Street
Thursday, December 30, 2010, Pratt Willert, 422 Pratt Street
Friday, December 31, 2010, JFK Center, 114 Hickory Street
Saturday, January 1, 2011 Families are encouraged to spend the day together and reflect on Kwanzaa