'Bring people together': Durham's Hayti Heritage Center's Kwanzaa celebration kicks off

Akilah Davis Image
Thursday, December 29, 2022
Durham's Hayti Heritage Center's 2022 Kwanzaa 7-day celebration starts
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The candle lighting ceremony is the foundation of the Kwanzaa celebration lighting a candle for each of the seven principles. Kwanzaa is celebrated for 7 day, each day represents a specific principle.

For Tamara Banie, Kwanzaa was never a family tradition. This year marks the start and she's introducing her children to the celebration.

"Kwanzaa is one we're cultivating this year," said Banie. "I'm tapping into my ancestry. I've spent the past year thinking about where do I come from? I want my children to see their community here. The people here they may need something. You may need something. I want them to feel comfortable drawing on them for support."

Dozens of vendors filled up the Hayti Heritage Center selling items from clothing to jewelry, hats and much more.

"We have a mission to support various vendors in countries throughout African mainly. So everything you see here was made in East Africa from the brass earrings to bangles," said Shaheed Abdur-Rahman, a vendor.

Upstairs there was a family drumming workshop where participants learn to use these small drums.

Aya Shabu is co-director of Hayti Legacy Kwanzaa shared the significance of the celebration.

"We wanted to make sure Kwanzaa always happened in Durham to bring people together in the spirit of celebrating African culture," she said.

According to Shabu, the candle lighting ceremony is the foundation of the Kwanzaa celebration lighting a candle for each of the seven principles. The first principle is Umoja.

"You would say to be habari gani which is what's the news? I'd respond with Umoja. Umoja is the first principle and first day of Kwanzaa and it means unity," said Shabu.

Unity is a principle that's important to Banie who is introducing the celebration and tradition to her children. She loss her grandmother earlier this year and this celebration brings her closer.

" She was a huge part of my upbringing and my life. I see hints of her in this room and her never fully explaining some of the things she practiced. Seeing it here now and come full circle its big for me," said Banie.

WATCH: Kwanzaa 2022: Everything you need to know about the week-long holiday

Each year, December 26th marks the beginning of the seven-night celebration of PanAfrican culture, known as Kwanzaa. 6abc's Sharrie Williams breaks down the origins, 7 principles and traditions of the holiday.

The seven principles are:

Day 1: Umoja = Unity

Day 2. Kujichagulia = Self-Determination

Day 3. Ujima = Collective Work and Responsibility

Day 4. Ujamaa = Cooperative Economics

Day 5. Nia = Purpose

Day 6. Kuumba = Creativity

Day 7. Imani = Faith