Kwanzaa is an observance that honors the family, community and culture of the African Diaspora. Celebrated for seven days from Dec. 26 through Jan. 1, Kwanzaa’s origins are in the first harvest celebrations of Africa, from which it takes its name. The observance, which includes a different principle in Swahili for each of its seven days, was created in 1966 by Maulana Karenga, Ph.D., during the black empowerment movement. Below is a list of several Kwanzaa community celebrations in Broward and Miami-Dade counties.
Friday, Dec. 26
Kwanzaa Market: Check out the Kwanzaa Marketplace at the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center, 2650 Sistrunk Blvd. near Fort Lauderdale. The “market’’ actually focuses on the principles of Kwanzaa and African people’s history, culture and arts with artists of spoken word, dance, drama and music. The festivities will last from 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Kwanzaa Celebration: Miami-Dade County’s North Dade Regional Library, 2455 NW 183rd Street, is also sponsoring a Kwanzaa celebration. The celebration will highlight the importance of family, community and culture. Festivities begin at 3:30 p.m. For more information, please call 305-625-6424.
The Chocolate Nutcracker: The Ashanti Cultural Arts Center is presenting the classical holiday program, The Nutcracker, but with a chocolate twist. Set within a black family, the protagonist, Lea, takes a magical journey to follow her roots in Africa. With the new setting and protagonist, the classic Nutcracker is able to represent the very essence of Kwanzaa. The performance features dazzling dance sequences with belly dancers, African drummers and dancers and much more. The show will take place at the Broward County Main Library at 100 S. Andrews Avenue in Fort Lauderdale. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students and seniors. For more information, please call 954-792-3700.
Kwanzaa Community Breakfast: Come together to enjoy great food and enlightening conversation about the Kwanzaa principle of Kujichagulia. The breakfast starts at 9 a.m. and is free and open to the public. The event will be held at Charlie Will Recreation Park Center at 1st Avenue & 8 Street in Dania Beach. For more information, please call (754) 423-8480.
Kwanzaa Discussion and Study Group: Quick! Name the seven principles of Kwanzaa! If you are unsure about the principles and the basic meaning of Kwanzaa, you can brush up on this information at the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center at 2650 Sistrunk Blvd. near Fort Lauderdale. The session is scheduled to last from noon until 5:30 p.m. For more information, please call 954-585-6332.
Sunday, Dec. 28
Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility)
Annual Kwanzaa Art Exhibit: Presented by the Kuumba Artists Collective of South Florida in conjunction with the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center, this event epitomizes the principle of Ujima (collective work and responsibility). The exhibit, which actually opened on Dec. 18, offers affordable art work at Amadlozi Gallery in the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center, 2166 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard (NW 62 Street and NE 22 Avenue) in the Liberty City section of Miami. This year, a special tribute will be made to the late Bernard Dyer and Sam Mason, two key figures in the role of making Dr. Martin Luther King Boulevard in Liberty City and the Martin Luther King Economic Development Corporation a reality. The exhibit will run until Jan. 18, 2009. For information about operating hours or to schedule a tour, please call 305-638-6771.
Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics)
Understanding Ujamaa: The African-American Advisory Council and the Washington Park Homeowners Association are sponsoring this day’s Kwanzaaa celebration, which focuses on cooperative economics (Ujamaa). In addition to providing light entertainment such as spoken word artists, this event will allow all participants to discuss the general principal of Ujamaa as well as the value of that principle in their individual lives. The session starts at 6 p.m. and will be held at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center at 2400 Charleston St. in Hollywood. For more information, please call 754-423-8480.
Kwanzaa Crafts: After the hurrah of various celebrations, spend a quiet evening creating Kwanzaa crafts at the South Regional/Broward College Library, 7300 Pines Boulevard, Pembroke Pines. The event begins at 6 p.m. For more information, please call 954-201-8825.
Tuesday, Dec. 30
Nia: To help members of the public better understand the principle of Nia, the African-American Advisory Council and the Washington Park Homeowners Association are sponsoring a Kwanzaa celebration dedicated solely to studying and discussing it. This event will begin at 6 p.m. at the Washington Park Community Center at 5199 Pembroke Road in Hollywood. For more information, please call 754-423-8480.
Wednesday, Dec. 31
Annual Kuumba KARAMU(Feast): Rejoice with an exciting performance celebrating creativity. Let your taste buds enjoy the free food while your eyes and ears absorb the spectacle of the best spoken word artists, story tellers, and African drumming and dancing around. The festival will take place at Bass Park, 2750 NW 19 St. in Fort Lauderdale. The event is scheduled to last from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. For more information, please call 954-828-8498 or 954-585-6332.
Thursday, Jan. 1
Kwanzaa Sunrise Service: On the final day of Kwanzaa, take the time to reflect at a unity meditation ceremony. The ceremony will precede a vegetarian breakfast and the opportunity to participate in a relaxing session of yoga. The ceremony will take place at the section of Hollywood’s beach between Griffin and Sheridan Streets. For more information, please call 954-484-0047.
Annual Interfaith Celebration: If you would prefer to close this year’s Kwanzaa holiday with a more rousing and energetic celebration, check out the Annual Interfaith Celebration. Sponsored by the African-American Advisory Council, the Washington Park Homeowners Association and the KWANZAA Coordinating Committee of Broward County, the Interfaith Celebration will take place at S.W. 57th Avenue & Fletcher Street in Hollywood, and is scheduled to last from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. For more information, please call 954-585-6332.
Kulture Klothes Kwanzaa Celebration: Maise McNaught, the owner of Kulture Klothes by Isis, a clothing boutique steeped in African culture, will host a Kwanzaa celebration to mark the closing of this year’s holiday and festivities. The celebration will begin at 5 p.m at 1362 N.W. 172 Terrace in Miami Gardens. For more information, please call 305-654-0707.