Kwanzaa at Trinity: Celebrating Community, Family and Culture

Kwanzaa, meaning "first fruits" in Swahili, is a celebration of community, family, and culture established as a means to help African Americans reconnect with their African roots and heritage. People of all faith traditions observe it since it is not tied to a religion. On December 15, we celebrated Kwanzaa with several of our Trinity families and students who shared about the meaning of Kwanzaa and what it represents for them.

Teaching intersectionality between different cultures is essential for our students to learn about and appreciate other beliefs.

One of the main symbols in Kwanzaa is the number seven. The celebration starts on December 26 and lasts for seven days. Each day, families light one of the seven candles on the kinara, a traditional candle holder symbolizing the roots of continental Africans. Each candle represents one of the seven principles of Kwanzaa: unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith. These are meant to be guiding principles for all who celebrate, not just during Kwanzaa but for the entire year.

Kythe B. reads about the origins of the holiday and what the different symbols represent. Kwanzaa is a way for African Americans to celebrate their roots and heritage.

In Lower School Community Time, two of our Trinity families, The Browns and The Pierces, spoke about how they celebrate Kwanzaa and the meaning behind it. They also took part in demonstrative lighting of the seven candles to show how they do it in their own homes over the course of the seven days. Letting our students explore different cultures and celebrations at a young age gives them a chance to learn, listen, and expand their worldview beyond what they see or experience every day.

Each year we let our Middle School students teach each other about the importance of different cultural celebrations at special Chapels. Some of these holidays include Hanukkah and Diwali. 

Our Middle School students also had the chance to learn about Kwanzaa at their weekly assembly led by Dean of Students Chris Ernest. Students Walter B., Kanaan B., Melania M., Aidan P. and Kenai, P. explained the 7-day-holiday to their peers, helping further our mission to nurture a diverse community. At Trinity, we believe diversity and inclusion are essential to a well-rounded education and know that children learn best when valued, respected, connected and safe. By challenging students to create connections beyond stereotypes, we help them grow into leaders who think critically, communicate, and collaborate effectively.