Five Kwanzaa Celebrations Around the Country


Mr. Frazier, 40, is from Charlotte, N.C., and his wife, Keita Orr Frazier, 38, grew up in Ridgeland, S.C. Their children, Ellis, 6, and Zora, 2, are observing Kwanzaa for the first time. “In my mind, the idea of Kwanzaa speaks to me, the principles and direction, and self-reflection,” Ms. Frazier said. “I have not thought about the trimmings of tables and candles.”

Bid whist, spades, rest and escape can be found in Black homes all over America at holidays, as it was in Ms. Frazier’s home at Christmas when she was growing up. December, when everyone comes together, allows for rare culinary indulgences — preserved fruit- and jelly-layered cakes, pineapple upside-down cakes, red velvet cakes — and Kwanzaa is no exception. “This year taught me to slow down and think about what memories I’m giving my kids,” she said.

The Fraziers will introduce their children to Kwanzaa through crafts projects and by getting them involved in preparing the special meal, or karamu. Traditionally, the feast takes place on the day dedicated to kuumba (creativity), but like most people nowadays, they’re opting for the day that’s best for them.


There is no one set tradition for the food either. On the menu is Mr. Frazier’s coffee-rubbed whole fish, perfected this summer during family camping trips that also served as research for Camp Yoshi, their venture focused on guided outdoor experiences for people of color, especially Black people. For Generation X and Millennials, self-identity and lineage is the Kwanzaa centerpiece, minus the Instagram posts and emojis.

Recipe: Coffee-Rubbed Grilled Fish

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