December is a special time of year for folks all across the globe. No matter which holiday you and your family choose to celebrate, what matters is that we’re spending this special time gathered closely with those nearest and dearest to us. The holidays can also be a wonderful time to explore our heritage, connect with our ancestors, and learn more about what makes us who we are. Kwanzaa, a seven-day holiday hosted from December 26th through January 1st, is an annual celebration of African American culture and life. Each day of Kwanzaa has been designated a principle which inspires the day’s celebrations, culminating on the sixth day with a Karamu feast. And when it comes to celebrating Kwanzaa in the Capital City, there is no shortage of fun to be had!

On Wednesday, December 27th, the Smith Family Foundation will be hosting their 8th Annual Kwanzaa 365 Celebration. The festivities will be held from 4:30pm to 6:30pm on the steps of Trenton City Hall, located at 319 E State St, Trenton, NJ 08608. The highlighted principle for the 2023 celebration is Kujichagulia: self-determination. At this event, guests will have the opportunity to hear from Urban Revitalization Strategist, Majora Carter, author of the book Reclaiming Your Community. Other featured presentations for the afternoon include The Watson-Johnson Dance Studio, Calvary Kids Choir, and UNUZI Drums. A beloved annual tradition in our community, all are welcome to come and be a part of this festive and educational evening.

Kwanzaa was first celebrated in 1966 when Dr. Maulana Karenga, professor of African American Studies at California State University, Long Beach, created the holiday. The purpose behind this celebration was to united the African American community as one. The name Kwanzaa originates from the Swahili phrase “matunda ya kwanza”, or first fruits. During each evening of the Kwanzaa celebration, a candle is lit on the Kinara and one of the seven principles is discussed. The seven principles include Umoja (Unity), Kujichagulia (Self-Determination), Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity) and Imani (Faith). Since its inception, Kwanzaa has brought together millions throughout the pan-African community to celebrate, reflect and recommit to the seven principles shaping the holiday.

This celebration is hosted by the Smith Family Foundation, an organization committed to the enrichment, education, and continued success of the Capital City. After the Smith family was granted a significant financial blessing, the family came together, resolved to use this opportunity to pour back into their community. The Smith Family Foundation is driven by their four core values: education, cultivation, transformation, and urban ministry. For more information about this and the other transformation work the Smith Family Foundation is up to in our community, please visit their website, linked here: SFF – Home.

This special opportunity is a wonderful way to connect with community, embrace tradition, and enjoying an enriching cultural experience right here in the Capital City. If you have any questions or would like to learn more about the upcoming festivities, please contact the Smith Family Foundation at (609) 888-6300 or by utilizing their online contact form, linked here: Contact Us – SFF. The stage is set, the performers are ready, and now all that’s needed for the perfect celebration is you!

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