BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Buffalo City Hall was lit up in red, black, and green early Tuesday morning to commemorate the colors of Kwanzaa.

Tuesday is day three of Kwanzaa, and the celebration lasts all the way until the start of January.

MORE | Buffalo celebrates Kwanzaa with flag raising and festivities

Kwanzaa was originally founded in 1966 as a way for the African American community to lay claim to the ancestry.

Every year, for seven days, the principles of unity, self-determination, collective responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith are celebrated.

At its heart, it’s a nod to ancestral African celebrations and universally appropriate values. Tuesday’s principle is ujima, which means collective work and shared community responsibility.

While today the holiday season is merry and bright, it’s important to note that during the years of American slavery, winter was especially difficult.

“The day after Christmas was an especially fraught time,” Asali Devan Ecclesiastes, with the Ashe Cultural Arts Center in Louisiana, says. “People spent time with their families because between Christmas and New Year’s, families would be separated and children would be sold off. That was the time to ground yourself in your principles, strength, spirituality.”

Although racial conflict outlived slavery, resilience became part of the cultural identity of communities throughout the diaspora.

On Sunday, the Kwanzaa flag was raised at City Hall for the first day of the holiday.

Tuesday at the Frank E. Merriweather Jr. Library, in the Dr. Eva Doyle Auditorium, there will be a panel discussion titled “Sister Outsider: Women Public Officials in Buffalo Past, Present and Future.” There will also be performances by the Ujima theatre company. It all starts at 7 p.m.

MORE | See the full list of Kwanzaa events happening in Buffalo here.

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