“As families and communities across our country come together today to light the Kinara, our family sends our hopes for a prosperous and healthy new year,” the POTUS said in a statement released by the White House.
December 26 marks the first day of the weeklong celebration of African heritage and African-American culture, which honors seven principles: Umoja (Unity), Kujichagulia (Self-Determination), Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity), and Imani (Faith).
Kwanzaa is a cultural holiday (rather than a religious one ) that was established by Maulana Karenga in 1966. It is observed through January 1st, with each of the seven days dedicated to one principle.
“Though each principle represents the essence of this holiday, they also represent the shared values that bind us as Americans,” Obama added.