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Kwanzaa Begins Wednesday

The African American and Pan-African holiday celebrates family, community and culture. It lasts until Jan. 1.

Kwanzaa Begins Wednesday

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Kwanzaa begins Wednesday, Dec. 26, and lasts until Jan. 1.

Established by Dr. Maulana Karenga in 1966, Kwanzaa—according to the officialkwanzaawebsite.org—is an African American and Pan-African holiday that celebrates family, community and culture.

Here is more information from officialkwanzaawebsite.org:

The name Kwanzaa is derived from the phrase "matunda ya kwanza" which means "first fruits" in Swahili, a Pan-African language which is the most widely spoken African language.

The first-fruits celebrations are recorded in African history as far back as ancient Egypt and Nubia and appear in ancient and modern times in other classical African civilizations such as Ashantiland and Yorubaland. These celebrations are also found in ancient and modern times among societies as large as empires (the Zulu or kingdoms (Swaziland) or smaller societies and groups like the Matabele, Thonga and Lovedu, all of southeastern Africa. Kwanzaa builds on the five fundamental activities of Continental African "first fruit" celebrations: ingathering; reverence; commemoration; recommitment; and celebration. Kwanzaa, then, is: 

• A time of ingathering of the people to reaffirm the bonds between them.
• A time of special reverence for the creator and creation in thanks and respect for the blessings, bountifulness and beauty of creation.
• A time for commemoration of the past in pursuit of its lessons and in honor of its models of human excellence, our ancestors.
• A time of recommitment to our highest cultural ideals in our ongoing effort to always bring forth the best of African cultural thought and practice.
• A time for celebration of the Good, the good of life and of existence itself, the good of family, community and culture, the good of the awesome and the ordinary, in a word the good of the divine, natural and social. 

Among the Kwanzaa events planned in the Twin Cities are:
Kwanzaa Family Day is planned for 12 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 29, at the Minnesota History Center, 345 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul. Click here for a schedule of events.

• A Twin Cities Kwanzaa celebration is planned for 3 to 6 p.m. Dec. 29 at Midtown Global Market, 920 E. Lake St., Minneapolis. Storytelling, drumming, crafts and lighting of the traditional Kinara candle are planned.

Click here for an FAQ about Kwanzaa.

Click here to reach Karenga's message for this year's celebration.

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