The seven-day African American holiday of Kwanzaa has been celebrated for 51 years. The Lowcountry Kwanzaa Planning Committee has been governing the Kwanzaa activities in the Lowcountry for 39 years. The week of Kwanzaa celebration is filled with events such as the Holiday Concert, Community Potluck, Community Parade, Holiday Market, and the Ancestor Remembrance at the McLeod Planation, the Big Feast on the final day, Karamu. The Lowcountry Kwanzaa Planning Committee has revealed 2017 calendar for the Week of Kwanzaa Celebration with all the activities of the Lowcountry Kwanzaa, which can be seen below. All activities are free to the community and family friendly.
The calendar of events for the week of Kwanzaa begins with the Lighting of the Kinara at the Marion Square Park and continues to the Reclamation Service with sponsorship with the Kwanzaa Planning Committee. The week of celebration continues with the sponsorships of different community charities and nonprofit organizations in the Lowcountry, which all are participating in the Kwanzaa Principle of Ujima of Collective Works and Responsibility of the Community and its future. Some organization include Old Bethel United Methodist Church, Charleston County Parks and Recreation, Tri-County Black Nurses Association, Ta Seti Dynasty and more.
Founded by Dr. Maulana Karenga in 1963, Kwanzaa was created to build a bridge for the traditional African values and to reach and reinforce connections among African American and African communities throughout the world. The values are called Nguzo Saba, which in Swahili means the seven principles. These seven principles are the heart of the holiday and are observed over the seven days from December 26 to January 1, culminating in a feast, and gift-giving. The principles are:
- Umoja (Unity): To strive for and to maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.
- Kujichagulia (Self-Determination): To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves.
- Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility): To build and maintain our community together and make our brothers’ and sisters’ problems our problems, and to solve them together.
- Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics): To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and profit from them together.
- Nia (Purpose): To make our collective vocation the building and development of our community to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
- Kuumba (Creativity): To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.
- Imani (Faith): To believe with all our hearts in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.
Charleston Lowcountry Kwanzaa Planning Committee is a 39-year-old organization designed and created by community residents to handle the Kwanzaa activities of the Lowcountry area. The charity organization is community based and community run whose blueprint emulates the African societal structure for connecting and reconnecting the past and future.