TAMPA, Fla. – While some people are winding down Christmas activities, others in the Tampa Bay area are just beginning to celebrate.

Tuesday, Dec. 26, marks the first day of Kwanzaa, a celebration of African culture created in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga.

A professor and chairman of Black Studies at California State University, Long Beach, Karenga combined aspects of harvest celebrations from different African cultures to form the basis of Kwanzaa in hopes of bringing African-Americans together as a community, according to an excerpt from “The Complete Kwanzaa Celebrating Our Cultural Harvest” on History.com.

During each of the seven nights of Kwanzaa, families gather and discuss the different elements of Nguzo Saba, or the seven principles:

• Umoja (pronounced oo-MO-jah), or unity

• Kujichagulia (koo-gee-cha-goo-lee-yah), or self-determination

• Ujima (oo-GEE-mah), or collective work and responsibility

• Ujamaa (oo-JAH-mah), or cooperative economics

• Nia (nee-YAH), or purpose

• Kuumba (koo-OOM-bah), or creativity

• Imani (ee-MAH-nee), or faith

For each night and its respective principle, a child lights one of the candles on the Kinara, a candleholder that represents ancestry. Tuesday, the black candle in the center is lit, and families can discuss the principle of Umoja. One candle is lit each evening, and on the seventh day, Imani, meaningful gifts known as zawadi are exchanged to promote or reward accomplishments and commitments kept.

Here are some of the public events celebrating Kwanzaa in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area:


Tuesday; Dec 26, 2017 @ 6:00 pm


4301 34th Street S. ~ St. Petersburg, FL

Contact: Carla Bristol @ 727-565-3930

KUJICHAGULIA (Self Determination)

Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2017 @ 6:00 pm

Images by Anderson; Hosted by: Carla Baker

880 Third Avenue S. ~ St. Petersburg, FL

Contact: Malissia Daneshpour @ 727-822-1122

UJIMA (Collective Work and Responsibility)

Thursday; Dec. 28, 2017 @ 6:00 pm

Reader's Choice Book & Gift Store

4341 34th Street S. ~ St. Petersburg, FL

Contact: L. Shorter @ 813-567-9756

Or T. Bailey @ 727-409-4310

UJAMAA (Cooperative Economics)

Friday, Dec. 29, 2017 @ 6:00 pm

Uniquely Original Art Studio

915 24th Street S. ~ St. Petersburg, FL

Contact: Catherine Weaver @ 727-239-3696

NIA (Purpose)

Saturday, Dec. 30, 2017 @ 6:00 pm

St. Petersburg Islamic Center

3762 18th Avenue S. ~ St. Petersburg, FL

Contact: Bro. Wilmore Sadiki @ 727-692-3342

KUUMBA (Creativity)

Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017 @ 6:00 pm

Moore's Chapel A.M.E. Church

3037 Fairfield Avenue S. ~ St. Petersburg, FL

Contact: Pastor J. Sykes, Sr. @ 727-954-5918

IMANI (Faith)

Monday, Jan. 1, 2018 @ 6:00 pm

Enoch Davis Center & Community

1111 18th Avenue S. ~ St. Petersburg, FL

Bring a dish to share at the 'Karuma'

Contact: L. Buchanan @ 727-893-7134


Mon, January 1, 2018 @ 3:00 PM – 6:30 PM EST

Tampa Heights Community Center

Mama Lubaba - Performing the Kwanzaa Presentation

Kuumba Dancers & Drummers - Music & Dance

African Fashion Show

Madison Family - Kwanzaa Ceremony lighting of the candle

Vendors are Welcome

Dinner & Drinks Provided

Please bring fruit for our Kwanzaa table.



6-7:30 p.m. Dec. 27

St. Mark United Methodist Church

1640 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave., Lakeland


Consists of a brief history of the cultural holiday season

There will also be entertainment by pianist Andrew Brown, poets Phaedra De Jarnette and James Neal and praise dancer Jazmyne Guy.

Make it easy to keep up-to-date with more stories like this. Download the 10 News app now.

Have a news tip? Email tips@wtsp.com, visit our Facebook page or Twitter feed.