President Trump issues 'joyous' statement on Kwanzaa

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27 December, 2017

Though he does not celebrate it as a regular holiday, Hamilton said he supports the principles of Kwanzaa, which are represented by the candles of the seven-branched kinara.

The week-long celebration honors African heritage and highlights the importance of family and community. "Together, let us celebrate during this joyous time the richness of the past and look with hope toward a brighter future", the statement reads, adding "as families and friends join to light the Kinara, Melania and I extend our warmest wishes for a joyful holiday season and a prosperous year to come".

Kwanzaa ends January 1 with a feast and gifts.

On Tuesday afternoon, more than 100 people watched the fourth-annual Kwanzaa celebration at the Jefferson School African-American Heritage Center. The seven principles are: Umoja (unity), Kujichagulia (self-determination), Ujima (collective work and responsibility), Ujamaa (cooperative economics), Nia (purpose), Kuumba (creativity), and Imani (faith).

Pronounced "kwahn-zuh", the term - which you can spell Kwanzaa or Kwanza - comes from the Swahili phrase "matunda ya kwanza", which means "first fruits".

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In 2011, Trump criticized then-President Obama, claiming he was downplaying Christmas. Kwanzaa lasts for 7 days.

The colors of the candles are black, red, and green.

Celebrations for Kwanzaa often include song and dance, African drums, storytelling and reading poetry, and a large traditional meal.

Earlier in the day, it seemed possible that Trump would be the first president in decades to fail to make note of the Kwanzaa holiday, but that situation, at least, was averted. Kwanzaa is the celebration of a culture, not a religion.


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