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What is Kwanzaa? And How to Celebrate in Cartersville

Kwanzaa is celebrated in the United States from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1.

The seven-day festival of Kwanzaa, which celebrates African-American heritage and culture, starts Wednesday, Dec. 26 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.

Cartersville's Noble Hill-Wheeler Memorial Center is hosting a Kwanzaa program on Saturday, Dec. 29, at 7 p.m. It's set to include two speakers, one of whom will provide information on researching family history; games and prizes; and a soul food feast. The keynote speaker is set to address the Kwanzaa principle of unity in the family.

The museum focusing on African-American culture from the late 1800's also will house a special display of the symbols and principles of Kwanzaa from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1. The restored Rosenwald School, built in 1923 as the first school for black children, is open Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Do you have any facts about Kwanzaa that you would like to share? Please write them in the comments section below. 

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Editor's Note: The list was compiled with information from City News Service.

Katherine M December 27, 2012 at 03:28 PM
Before you guys start promoting or celebrating this man made holiday, you need to do some research: http://frontpagemag.com/2012/ann-coulter/kwanzaa-holiday-brought-to-you-by-the-fbi/
Always an Emerson girl! December 27, 2012 at 09:06 PM
And your point is?

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