51st celebration of Kwanzaa begins

ENDWELL, N.Y. - With Hanukkah and Christmas behind us, people are celebrating the African American heritage and culture on the 51st celebration of Kwanzaa.

NewsChannel 34 stopped by the home of Black History Community Coordinator Brenda Brown this afternoon to learn more about the holiday.

Established in 1966, Kwanzaa is a 7-day celebration of the African American culture, with each day representing a different value.

The first day is Unity, followed by Self-Determination, Collective Work and Responsibility, Cooperative Economics, Purpose, and Creativity culminating to the final day which is Faith.

Each day a candle is lit, with black representing skin and red representing blood that was shed.

Brown says the holiday represents the African American identity.

"We went from being a Negro to being Black to being an Afro American to today being an African American. You have to understand the search and the identity that was so needed for African Americans. We don't have our own language or style, so we had to create it," said Brown.

The principles of Kwanzaa also include celebrating things that come from the Earth like fruits and vegetables.

Brown says a common misconception about Kwanzaa is that the holiday is a substitute for Christmas.


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