First day of Kwanzaa observed in NJ

The weeklong cultural celebration focuses on a new principle each day.

The weeklong cultural celebration focuses on a new principle each day. (12/26/12)

TRENTON - Today marks the first day of Kwanzaa, the seven-day African-American cultural celebration that honors one of the seven principles of Kwanzaa each day.

Day 1 is a celebration of Umoja, or unity. Across New Jersey, many families marked the day by lighting the center candle on the kinara.

The holiday began in the 1960s and has grown in popularity. Observers say that despite the timing, Kwanzaa isn't an alternative to Christmas, but rather is a celebration of family and community.

On Friday, Trenton's City Hall will host its annual Kwanzaa in the City celebration from noon until 4 p.m.

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