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At community or family Kwanzaa celebrations, participants "call out" the names of ancestors, relatives and individuals for their positive influence. "How to Plan a Kwanzaa Celebration" by Ida Gamble-Gumbs and Bob Gumbs is one of many sources about the holiday. Photo by Wanda Jackson
Published on: Monday, December 30, 2013
By Wanda Jackson, Sentinel Arts Reporter
On the day after Christmas and into the New Year, many Americans will celebrate Kwanzaa with family at home or at community and public events.
The celebration — December 26 through January 1 — honors African American heritage and culture through “Nguzo Saba” or Seven Principles: unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith. It is a cultural celebration, not a religious holiday.
Kwanzaa celebrations in Prince George’s County include events at the Rollingcrest-Chillum Community Center in Chillum from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., and Tucker Road Community Center in Fort Washington from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 27. Most public events feature African dance, poetry and other Kwanzaa-related festivities.
On Saturday, Dec. 28, Kwanzaa founder Maulana Karenga, Ph.D., joins this year’s Kwanzaa celebration from noon to 4 p.m. at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum in Baltimore, turning the festivities into a historic one.
Karenga will speak at 12:30 p.m. about Celebrating and Living Kwanzaa: Sowing and Harvesting Seeds of Good.
“Kwanzaa brings a cultural message which speaks to the best of what it means to be African and human in the fullest sense,” says Karenga at the official Kwanzaa website (www.officialkwanzawebsite.org).
“It is a time of appreciative remembrance of our ancestors, great and ordinary, of the models of human excellence, achievement and possibility they offer, and of the enduring legacy of the good they left in the world,” says Karenga. “It is too, a time of sustained reflection on the moral and expansive meaning of being African in the world, especially on how we understand and live our lives, and engage the critical issues confronting our community, society and the world.”
Karenga, an activitist-scholar and educator is professor and chair of African American Studies at California State University, Long Beach. He holds two doctorates, one in political science and another in social ethics; and, an honorary doctorate from the University of Durban, South Africa. He is the author of numerous scholarly articles and books.
The Reginald F. Lewis Museum’s Kwanzaa celebration on Saturday includes a variety of performances, such as the Drummers of Sankofa Dance Theater accompanied by Beat boxer Shodekeh, whose performance is “a palpable energetic surge to any musical idea,” according to Baltimore art critic Bret McCabe.
Griot storytelling will entertain with a musical backdrop, drama, song and sometimes dance.
“Some stories are Old World, taking the listener on a travelogue journey all the way into the village,” according to Helen Yuen, the museum’s marketing director, in a press release. “Others are New World and cutting edge in a way that bridges yesterday, today and tomorrow.”
An interactive children’s workshop on the Seven Principles of Kwanzaa will be presented by Culture Kingdom Kids.
The museum’s event ends with a Sankofa Dance theater performance that “showcases authentic traditions of the ‘Motherland’ through music, movement and folkways,” says Yuen. “The dancers and drummers create the magic of ‘Sankofa’ in full traditonal African costumes and all music is live percussion…sure to diversify, entertain and awaken.”
A few places to celebrate Kwanzaa:
Tucker Road Community Center
1771 Tucker Road, Fort Washington
Friday, December 27, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Rollingcrest-Chillum Community Center
6120 Sargent Road, Chillum
Friday, December 27, 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
The Reginald F. Lewis Museum
830 Pratt Street (near the Inner Harbor), Baltimore
Special reduced admission: $5
Saturday, December 28, Noon to 4 p.m.
For directions and additional information, visit WWW.RFLewisMuseum.org
Posted By: Tammy On: 1/1/2014
Title: Kwanzaa Events Celebrate Family and Culture
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