Monday, December 18, 2017

Videos Of Kwanzaa Celebrations In The United States & In Canada

Edited by Azizi Powell

This pancocojams post showcases video examples of Kwanzaa celebrations. Seven of these celebrations were videotaped in the United States and one was videotaped in Canada.

The content of this post is presented for cultural, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to Maulana Karenga for creating the Kwanzaa holiday. Thanks to all those who are featured in these videos. Thanks also to the publishers of these videos on YouTube.

Click the Kwanzaa tab for more pancocojams posts about this African American originated holiday.

Many of these videos of Kwanzaa celebrations may have occurred on the evening of the sixth day of Kwanzaa. Here's a write up about that day"


On the sixth day the black candle is lit, then the farthest left red, the farthest right green, the next red, the next green and then the final red candle. This represents the 6th principle of Kwanzaa – Kuumba (koo-OOM-bah): Creativity.

The sixth day, which occurs on New Years Eve, is a special day. This is the day of the Kwanzaa Karamu or Kwanzaa Feast. In the spirit of celebration many families invite their friends and family to join in the festivities.

Create a party atmosphere with additional Kwanzaa decorations. Dress up in traditional or traditional inspired clothing. Play African or African American music. Cook your favorite foods and special holiday dishes. Invite your guests to contribute to the feast by bringing along their favorite dishes. The children and/or the Adults can perform plays, read uplifting passages, poems or stories. Maybe one of the adults will be a story teller for the day. Remember the principle of the day is Kuumba (creativity). So be creative!!

On this special day we remember our ancestors when the Unity cup is shared. After everyone has taken a drink the candles are extinguished.

But before the Karamu is over, the eldest member of those present will read the Tamshi La Tutaonana (TAM-shi la Tu-ta-u-NA-na). The Tamshi La Tutaonana was written by Dr. Karenga, the creator of Kwanzaa, as a farewell statement to the feast and the year.

Everyone stands as the elder reads:
Strive for discipline, dedication, and achievement in all you do. Dare struggle and sacrifice and gain the strength that comes from this. Build where you are and dare leave a legacy that will last as long as the sun shines and the water flows. Practice daily Umoja, Kujichagulia, Ujima, Ujamaa, Nia, Kuumba, and Imani. And may the wisdom of the ancestors always walk with us. May the year’s end meet us laughing, and stronger. May our children honor us by following our example in love and struggle. And at the end of next year, may we sit together again, in larger numbers, with greater achievement and closer to liberation and a higher level of life.

Then the elder leads the guests in the Harambee (ha-RAM-bee) salute. Each person raises their right fist about as high as their shoulder, then pulls down forcefully until the elbow is next to next to their torso, saying “Harambee!” This is done seven times in unison.

This concludes the Karamu celebration."
It should be noted that this write up serves as one idea about how these programs can occur.

Some community Kwanzaa gatherings with dancing, drumming, food, and speakers have been held on other nights of Kwanzaa instead of or in addition to the sixth night of Kwanzaa (Kuumba). These community Kwanzaa celebrations are usually open to the public, but largely attended by people who have otherwise participated throughout the year in the sponsoring organization's/organizations' services/activities.

Depending on the sponsoring organization/s, either a few attendees or most of the attendees don't wear African clothing (usually semi-traditional West African fashions.)

Lighting the kinara candle and explaining that day's Kwanzaa principle are always parts of the Kwanzaa events that I've attended. However, gifts are usually not given at these events. Also, I've never heard anyone read the words that are given above in blockquotes. Furthermore, none of the Kwanzaa community events and small gatherings that I've attended over the years included drinking from the unity cup, apart from the first Kwanzaa gathering that I remember in Newark, New Jersey in 1967.

Smaller Kwanzaa parties are also held by family and friends on any night of Kwanzaa. These parties usually center around food and African dancing and drumming. People may or may not wear West African clothing. These parties may showcase a few people performing African dancing and drumming.

In the segment of the video given below as Example #6 (beginning at 5:50) the narrator mentions that small handmade gifts could be given every day of Kwanzaa, and a larger gift given on the last day of Kwanzaa. That is how I remember the Kwanzaa celebrations that I attended in 1967 in Newark, New Jersey, with the larger gift given during the evening of the 6th day of Kwanzaa, at the karamu. However, my experience since then is that gifts are usually not given out at community Kwanzaa events.

The seventh day of Kwanzaa (New Years Day) might have been traditionally considered a day of rest (from communal activities). However, some community organizations might hold an event on that day (instead of on other Kwanzaa days).

Example #1: History of Kwanzaa

quartnivell escola, Published on Apr 28, 2008


Example #2: Sesame Street: Kwanzaa

Sesame Street, Published on Dec 17, 2008

In this clip, a family celebrates Kwanzaa.

Sesame Street is a production of Sesame Workshop, a nonprofit educational organization which also produces Pinky Dinky Doo, The Electric Company, and other programs for children around the world.

Example #3: CEA Children @ Kwanzaa 2011 SAFE Passage African Dance

CEApittsburghTV, Published on Jan 6, 2012

Community Empowerment Association's Kwanzaa Celebration 2011. Pittsburgh, PA. December 30, 2011

Example #4: ACHA Kwanzaa Show featuring The Africentric School Drumming and Dance Ensemble

African-Canadian Heritage, Published on Dec 9, 2013

The Africentric School Drumming and Dance Ensemble performance at the African Canadian Heritage Association annual Kwanzaa Show on Dec 7th at the Warden Wood Community Centre

Example #5: Kwanzaa Karamu 2012 - Kuumba performance

Mayaneye, Published on Jan 1, 2013

Taaluma Drum & Dance Company (Culture4mykids) performing for the family during the karamu.

Example #6: CELEBRATION episode Kwanzaa segment, Published on Dec 11, 2015 CELEBRATION episode Kwanzaa segment. PBS premiere: December 11, 2015...
Here's information about the word "ase'" [pronounced "AH-shay") that was spoken near the end of this video:
"Ase (or ├ás̩e̩ or ashe [1]) is a West African philosophical concept through which the Yoruba of Nigeria conceive the power to make things happen and produce change. It is given by Olodumare to everything — gods, ancestors, spirits, humans, animals, plants, rocks, rivers, and voiced words such as songs, prayers, praises, curses, or even everyday conversation. Existence, according to Yoruba thought, is dependent upon it.[2]"

"Ase is generally defined as "the power to make things happen" and also refers to the spiritual life force that flows through things, much like the Chinese concept of chi. Ase can also be used to express agreement -- saying "Ase!" can be like saying "Right on!" Ase is also a way of saying, "so let it be" and is used by Orisa worshippers in the way "amen" would be used by Christians following a prayer."

Example #7: 30th Annual Kwanzaafest | Durham, NC | OMNI Documentaries

OMNI Documentaries O.I.C. Media, Published on Jan 3, 2016

Habari Gani? KWANZAA! This year, 2016 was both the 30th annual Kwanzaafest & the 79th birthday of beloved African American Dance Ensemble (AADE) Founder, Baba Chuck Davis! And Bull City, Durham gave a great celebration for all to see! Performances were given by singer Versatyle, praise dancer Min. Fred Jones & theatrical drama from Lynnette Barber. (Go to Instagram account OMNI76 to SEE photos & video clips from the event!) But the true highlight were the combined performances of AADE & its sister dance company from Richmond, Virginia EZIBU MUNTU African Dance & Cultural Foundation! In witnessing the performance, you'll understand why Durham, NC starts off every year in being blessed by this annual extravaganza!
The man wearing the gold agbada (robe) is Baba* Chuck Davis ((January 1, 1937 – May 14, 2017),

Baba Chuck Davis "was an American dancer and choreographer whose work focused on traditional African dance in America. He was the founder of DanceAfrica, the Chuck Davis Dance Company and the African American Dance Ensemble."

Baba Chuck Davis helped popularize the call & response attention chant "ago" - "ame".

*"Baba" here is an honorific title of respect for a male elder.

Example #8: 2016 Kwanzaa Celebration

TheTriangleTribune, Published on Jan 5, 2016

People came out to celebrate Kwanzaa at the Durham Armory for the annual Kwanzaa Fest presented by Chuck Davis and his African Dance Ensemble.

Thanks for visiting pancocojams.

Visitor comments are welcome.

No comments:

Post a Comment