Detroit to build giant Kwanzaa kinara in the city’s downtown

The Motor City Kwanzaa Kinara, reportedly the world's largest, will reach 30 feet tall with seven candles topped by solar-powered lights simulating flames.

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Detroit is celebrating its “rich diversity” by hosting the world’s largest kinara, the candleholder used to commemorate the seven-day Kwanzaa holiday.

According to CBS News Detroit, the Motor City Kwanzaa Kinara will reach 30 feet tall and feature its traditional red, green and black candles topped by solar-powered lights that simulate flames.

A collaboration between Detroit City Councilman Scott Benson, Alkebu-Ian Village and the Downtown Detroit Partnership will allow for the structure’s construction.

The kinara, or candleholder, has candles representing the seven principles of Kwanzaa. The city of Detroit is reportedly building the world’s largest kinara commemorating the seven-day Kwanzaa holiday. (Photo: © Aaron E. Martinez/American-Statesman/USA TODAY NETWORK)

Sponsors raised $75,000 to create the structure, set to be located in the Campus Martius in the city’s downtown area, according to the Alkebu-lan Village website. It will join the annual Christmas Tree and Menorah in the park’s festive environment and commemorate Black life, community and culture.

“Detroit is a city that embraces its rich diversity,” Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said in a statement, according to CBS. Duggan noted that the prominent kinara will be “a perfect way to demonstrate our city’s pride in African-American culture and the seven principles of Kwanzaa.”

They are, in order, Umoja (Unity), Kujichagulia (Self-Determination), Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity) and Imani (Faith).

“We are thrilled that this year we will have on display the world’s largest Kinara, which will join the world’s largest Menorah and our state’s largest Christmas tree, as people of all backgrounds come downtown to celebrate their faith and culture this holiday season,” Duggan added.

Alkebu-lan Village shared that the piece will have a fine black granite foundation with a hardwood candle holder that displays the word “KWANZAA” hand-carved with other cultural symbols, embodying Kwanzaa’s sixth principle. Officials will light each candle on its corresponding day. The entire construction, including the seven utility pole candles, will be designed to disassemble into 23 parts.

At a ceremony on Dec. 26, the first day of Kwaanza, officials will formally unveil the Motor City Kwanzaa Kinara to the general public.

According to Benson, the monument will act as a tool for education that gives citizens a chance to recognize African American tradition and culture.

CBS reported that the councilman wanted Detroit to observe Kwanzaa as a reminder that “none of us can stand alone.”

“Kwanzaa is about celebrating and reflecting on unity, community, collective work and other principles,” Benson said in a statement, CBS reported. “These principles bind us together and help us build a better tomorrow. Kwanzaa is a celebration that benefits us all. … We need one another.”

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