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Kwanzaa is Dec. 26 to Jan. 1

The celebration is designed to connect African Americans with their heritage.

The seven-day festival of Kwanzaa, which celebrates African-American heritage and culture, starts Wednesday and ends Jan. 1. Here are some facts about the week-long holiday.

  • Kwanzaa was created in 1966 by Maulana Karenga, now chair of California State University Long Beach's Department of Africana Studies, in what he called "an audacious act of self-determination."
  • The name "Kwanzaa" comes from the Swahili phrase "matunda ya kwanza," which means "first fruits."
  • Kwanzaa's focus is the "Nguzo Saba," or the Seven Principles—unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.
  • During the week, a candelabrum called a Kinara is lit, and ears of corn representing each child in the family are placed on a traditional straw mat.
  • African foods such as millet, spiced pepper balls and rice are often served. Some people fast during the holiday and a feast is often held on its final night.
  • A flag with three bars—red for the struggle for freedom, black for unity, and green for the future—is sometimes displayed during the holiday.
  • Kwanzaa is based on the theory of Kawaida, which espouses that social revolutionary change for black America can be achieved by exposing blacks to their cultural heritage.

How will you celebrate Kwanzaa? Tell us in the comments section.

This list was compiled with information from City News Service.

21th humanitarian December 27, 2012 at 03:13 AM
Isn't about time to celebrate Africans in America. I know I do!
Voter with an ID December 27, 2012 at 04:29 AM
21th (sounds like saying 21 with a lisp), any reason you brought up your Readers Digest version of th KKK and omitted the part about Robert Byrds involvement and support? How about your take on the fact that Africans sold their own people into slavery? Why no mention of that inconvenient fact? Isn't it because it's easier to blame it on the 'rich' white man, just so the descendants of slaves can demand reparations? So, celebrate as you will...don't forget to blame the African slave sellers for these people's plight, just like you would blame drug dealers for selling crack to addicts.
Janice P Ellis December 27, 2012 at 04:42 PM
You see, Darwinian Justice, that's what is so warped and twisted about thinking you know someone inside and out based on posts in this forum. I grew up in Berkeley in the '60's, where it really was the ultimate melting pot. I was taught that we're all the same - and I believe that to this day. We all have hopes and dreams and fears. We all have our crosses to bear, Darwinian Justice, but, you're totally off-base as to what you think mine are. Thankfully, racism isn't one of them, nor is my feeling like a victim as a result of what the black race has gone through. So, you can save your zingers for someone else. And, no, obviously I DIDN'T live through 400 years of slavery, but, as a black person, I live with the after effects of it. Getting back to Kwanzaa, my family doesn't celebrate it, but, I can understand why something like Kwanzaa exists. I absolutely don't believe Kwanzaa WOULD exist if the black race hadn't been oppressed and enslaved, nor would America have seen the likes of the Civic Rights movement of the '60's. There would have been no NEED for them. One has no need to show strength unless another has tried to show one as weak. As so often happens on these forums, some have no desire to seek to understand, but, only seek to insult and put others down. I find it very interesting that those people rarely use their real names. As usual, everyone is talking, but, no one is listening. All some of you seem to care about are insults.
Janice P Ellis December 27, 2012 at 05:02 PM
You're correct, Voter with an ID - Africans did sell their own people into slavery. But, who did they sell them TO? To be fair, we need to include the ENTIRE ugly picture, not just one part of it. And, if you really think this is about reparations, you really ARE clueless. No amount of money could undo what has been done, nor make what happened ok. I've read your posts on this forum for awhile now, and you're always ready and willing to hurl insults. You never seem to have anything positive to say, which says a lot about who you are. Then, you label people such as myself as "bleeding hearts". Believe me, if it separates me from you and people like Darwinian Justice, who always have something negativeand insulting to say, I'll wear the "bleeding heart" badge with honor.
Darwinian Justice December 27, 2012 at 11:40 PM
No need for a bleeding heart badge. The victim mentality acts perfectly well as a replacement.

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