American Museum Of Natural History Will Host Its 35th Annual Kwanzaa Celebration


On December 29, the American Museum of Natural History will mark Kwanzaa with a celebration that will immerse visitors in rich cultural legacy and contemporary artistic expressions of the African-American community. Since 1984, the Museum has been proud to host one of the country’s largest Kwanzaa celebrations.

“In addition to being a place that tells stories about science and nature, the American Museum of Natural History is a place of cultural stories and festivals that bring contemporary culture into focus,” said Bella Desai, director of public programs and exhibition education at the museum. “We are interested in building on the traditions of the past and showcasing the cultural dynamism and diversity of today. Kwanzaa is exciting opportunity to celebrate African-American culture, from the roots of African traditions to the history of civil rights to the accomplishments of contemporary artists.”

Kwanzaa is a seven-day celebration that starts on December 26, 2018 and focuses on family, community, creativity, and the cultural traditions of the African diaspora. Established in 1966 during the civil rights era in the United States, Kwanzaa recognizes the strength, beauty, and deep roots of the African-American community.

Each day of Kwanzaa highlights one of seven principles (Nguzo Saba) that represent the core values of the holiday. The traditional Kwanzaa greeting is “Habari gani?,” which means “What’s the news?” in Swahili. The appropriate response is the name of the principle that corresponds to the current day of Kwanzaa.

Day 1 Umoja (oo-MOH-jah): Unity

Day 2 Kujichagulia (koo-jee-chah-goo-LEE-ah): Self-Determination

Day 3 Ujima (oo-JEE-mah): Collective Work and Responsibility

Day 4 Ujamaa (oo-jah-MAH): Cooperative Economics

Day 5 Nia (NEE-ah): Purpose

Day 6 Kuumba (koo-OOM-bah): Creativity

Day 7 Imani (ee-MAH-nee): Faith


Celebrating Kwanzaa at the Museum

On Saturday, December 29, the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life will be transformed into a family-friendly festival celebrating Kwanzaa. Kwanzaa programming includes:

• Discovering the core values of Kwanzaa with Linda H. Humes, founder of Yaffa Cultural Arts Inc., and master drummers Sanga of the Valley and Andouchie Loubaki

• The tradition and spectacle that is the Afro-Cuban experimental dance ensemble Oyu Oro, with over a dozen musicians, singers, and dancers celebrating the rich heritage of the African diaspora in Cuba

• Live drawing of illustrations and strips representing the seven principles of Kwanzaa from seven graphic-novel artists from Black Comics Collective

• Honoring the seven principles of Kwanzaa with a local marketplace and fun giveaways throughout the day

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