Kwanzaa in Quarantine-Celebrating in a Pandemic

Kwanzaa, founded by Maulana Karenga, is a weeklong celebration, December 26 through January 1, to honor, celebrate African heritage, family, and the community. The holiday is rooted in seven principles, known as Nguzo Saba. These principles promote culture, unity, and community development.  The core principles are:

  • Umoja (Unity) – To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.
  • Kujichagulia (Self-Determination) -To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves.
  • Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility) – To build and maintain our community together and make our brother’s and sister’s problems our problems and solve them together.
  • Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics) – To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.
  • Nia (Purpose) – To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
  • Kuumba (Creativity) – To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.
  • Imani (Faith) – To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.

Below are some virtual Kwanzaa celebrations taking place this year to make it memorable despite the pandemic.

Kwanzaa Virtual Market

December 1 – January 1

The market will be available all of December with video programming throughout the month. Learn about the Kwanzaa principles and setting up a Kwanzaa table in your home.

Family Craft Night: Celebrating Posadas & Kwanzaa

December 22 | 6:00pm – 7:00pm

This event takes place on Zoom. Register at least 24 hours in advance.  Join Ms. Corina at the Back of the Yards Branch for a family craft night celebrating posadas from Mexico and Kwanzaa. This African American celebration honors their cultural heritage and values. Kits will be available to pick up at the Back of the Yards starting on December 15. Chicago Public Library (

Kwanzaa Craft

December 23 | 7:00pm – 8:00pm

Celebrate Kwanzaa with North Austin, learn about the holiday, and make festive crafts. Participants can pick up craft kits from North Austin in advance. This program is recommended for children ages six and up. Kwanzaa Crafts | Events | Chicago Public Library (

2020 Virtual Unity Kwanzaa Brunch

December 26 | 11:00am

UMOJA Breakfast at The Garvey Center.[%7B%22mechanism%22%3A%22search_results%22%2C%22surface%22%3A%22search%22%7D]%7D

Kwanzaa in Tsiazza

December 30 | 9:00pm – 11:00pm

Kwanzaa in Tsiazza is a celebration of Family, Culture, and Art used for the education and exploration of the seven principles of Kwanzaa. It’s a representation of values to live by. Tsiazza is the royal kingdom inside of every one of us where our unique and unmatched greatness is discovered. Our primary goal is unity, encouragement, and family interaction while sharing Kwanzaa education through art appreciation and expression. The event will include food, fashion, art, and music.[%7B%22mechanism%22%3A%22search_results%22%2C%22surface%22%3A%22search%22%7D]%7D


Tammy Gibson is a travel historian, author, and writer. Find her at, Facebook, Instagram @SankofaTravelher, and Twitter @SankofaTravelHr.

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