The seven-day festival of Kwanzaa, which celebrates African-American heritage and culture, starts today and ends Tuesday, 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.
- A poll commissioned by the National Retail Federation and conducted by BIGresearch from Oct. 4 to Oct. 11 found that 2 percent of the 8,585 adults surveyed said they would celebrate Kwanzaa, compared to 90.5 percent who celebrate Christmas and 5.4 percent who celebrate Hanukkah.
In metro Atlanta, you can observe Kwanzaa at the following events:
- 8 p.m. Friday: Honoring Our Servants, Omenala Griot African Museum, 337 Dargan Place SW, Atlanta
- noon Saturday: Meet The Holidays: Kwanzaa, Imagine It! The Children's Museum of Atlanta, 275 Centennial Olympic Park Dr. NW, Atlanta
- 8 p.m. Saturday: A Kwanzaa Celebration featuring "FUSION" From Africa to Hip Hop, The Balzer Theater At Herren's, 84 Luckie St. NW, Atlanta
- 3 p.m. Sunday: Kwanzaa Observance, Central Library, One Margaret Mitchell Square, Atlanta
Do you know of other Kwanzaa celebrations in Acworth, Kennesaw and Cobb County? Please write them in the comments section below.
This list was compiled with information from City News Service.