Though Kwanzaa adopts its symbolism from nations across the West African diaspora, and its terminology from East African Swahili (Kwanzaa, loosely translated, = “fruits of the harvest”), what most people don’t know is that the enduring winter cultural celebration is actually the brainchild of one guy, one guy who’s still living: Maulana Karenga invented the holiday in 1965 in conjunction with the Black Power movement. He intended for it to be an “oppositional alternative,” but today, the majority of families celebrating Kwanzaa also celebrate Christmas. This makes it easy to enjoy the bevy of cultural festivities happening throughout the city today. Observe with dance prodigy Savion Glover at the Museum of Natural History’s 36th Annual Kwanzaa Celebration, or browse the children’s Kwanzaa Festival and seasonal marketplace at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. This year, at the Apollo’s annual Regeneration Night, Abdel Salaam’s Forces of Nature Dance Theatre honors the Nguzo Saba, or seven principles of Kwanzaa, in a family-oriented production.
Sat., Dec. 27, noon, 2014