Some of the exciting events in Houston this week are the celebrations surrounding The 45th Season of Kwanzaa. The African American celebration ends just as the International Year of People of African Descent is getting underway in January 2011. The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed this event to promote a greater knowledge of and respect for the rich and diverse African heritage’s and cultures.
Here’s some of the events in Houston where you can participate in the 2010 Kwanzaa activities in the local community.
- Shape Community Center
- Third Ward Multi-purpose Center
- Project Row House
- Blue Triangle Multi-Cultural Center
- Shrine Of The Black Madonna
Kwanzaa has origins in the African first-fruit harvest celebrations and modern roots in a celebration first held in California, in 1965 by US, a cultural organization founded by Dr. Maulana Karenga.
Since the inception of the holiday, Kwanzaa ceremonies have been formal occasions for African Americans to honor their ancestors and the ancient African tradition of spreading the good, the joy and the justice they want to see in the world.
The holiday’s main focus is on seven guiding principles, the “Nguzo Saba”. Each day a separate principle is discussed. They are considered the foundations of building healthy personal relationships and a strong African American community.
The Swahili concepts that make up the 7 tenants of the “Nguzo Saba” are listed below.
- Umoja (Unity): Unity of the family, community, nation, and race.
- Kujichagulia (Self-Determination): The inalienable right to name, define, create and speak for ourselves.
- Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility): To work, build and maintain our community together recognizing that our brothers' and sisters' problems are our problems, and we can solve them together.
- Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics): To build, maintain and own businesses that benefit the community.
- Nia (Purpose): The recognition of the larger vision of collective vocation. The building and developing the greatness within the African American community.
- * Kuumba (Creativity): To inspire others and become innovate so that the community is more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.
- * Imani (Faith): To believe with all our heart in ourselves, the success of our people, and to respect our parents, our teachers, our leaders.
During Kwanzaa celebrations popular decorations and symbols designed to convey the seven principles are usually placed on a decorative mat.
A unity cup
A long candle holder
Hand made gifts
The tree of gratefulness
A straw mat
Ears of corn (yams or other produce can be used)
Hand made Zawadi (gifts)
These are some of the most popular symbols and Kwanzaa decoration used during events in Houston to illustrate the seven principles as well as posters of the seven principles, and a black, red, and green flag.
Kwanzaa activities serve as a reminder that that each of us have the capacity to use our life as a positive motivating force to impact the world we live in.
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There are lots of events in Houston where you can experience its rich African American cultural heritage here's a look at a few of them.