Kwanzaa background and 2010 events in Los Angeles…enjoy!

December 26-January 1

2010 marks the 44th celebration of Kwanzaa as an official holiday in the U.S.

Theme: “Kwanzaa and the Nguzo Saba: An Ethics of Sharing Good in the World”

Kwanzaa is an African American and Pan-African holiday which celebrates family, community and culture. Celebrated from 26 December thru 1 January, its origins are in the first harvest celebrations of Africa from which it takes its name. 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; and
  • 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.

Rooted in this ancient history and culture, Kwanzaa develops as a flourishing branch of the African American life and struggle as a recreated and expanded ancient tradition. Thus, it bears special characteristics only an African American holiday but also a Pan-African one, For it draws from the cultures of various African peoples, and is celebrated by millions of Africans throughout the world African community. Moreover, these various African peoples celebrate Kwanzaa because it speaks not only to African Americans in a special way, but also to Africans as a whole, in its stress on history, values, family, community and culture.

Kwanzaa was established in 1966 in the midst of the Black Freedom Movement and thus reflects its concern for cultural groundedness in thought and practice, and the unity and self-determination associated with this. It was conceived and established to serve several functions.

First, Kwanzaa was created to reaffirm and restore our rootedness in African culture. It is, therefore, an expression of recovery and reconstruction of African culture which was being conducted in the general context of the Black Liberation Movement of the ’60’s and in the specific context of The Organization Us, the founding organization of Kwanzaa and the authoritative keeper of its tradition. Secondly, Kwanzaa was created to serve as a regular communal celebration to reaffirm and reinforce the bonds between us as a people. It was designed to be an ingathering to strengthen community and reaffirm common identity, purpose and direction as a people and a world community. Thirdly, Kwanzaa was created to introduce and reinforce the Nguzo Saba (the Seven Principles.) These seven communitarian African values are: Umoja (Unity), Kujichagulia (Self-Determination), Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity), and Imani (Faith). This stress on the Nguzo Saba was at the same time an emphasis on the importance of African communitarian values in general, which stress family, community and culture and speak to the best of what it means to be African and human in the fullest sense. And Kwanzaa was conceived as a fundamental and important way to introduce and reinforce these values and cultivate appreciation for them.

Kwanzaa was created in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga, professor of Africana Studies at California State University, Long Beach, author and scholar-activist who stresses the indispensable need to preserve, continually revitalize and promote African American culture.

Finally, it is important to note Kwanzaa is a cultural holiday, not a religious one, thus available to and practiced by Africans of all religious faiths who come together based on the rich, ancient and varied common ground of their Africanness.

2010 Kwanzaa Events

Sunday, December 26

Kwanzaa Parade

WHEN: Sunday, December 26, 12 Noon
WHERE: Starts on Crenshaw & Adams and heads to Leimert Park

Umoja Night Candle Lighting Ceremony and Celebration

WHEN: Sunday, December 26, 6 p.m.
WHERE: African-American Cultural Center, 3018 W. 48th St.
Sponsored by Kwanzaa Ujima Collective, the program will include poetry, music, refreshments and wishes for the New Year. In the spirit of unity, the community is being asked to bring clean blankets and clothing for the needy.

Leon’s 4th Annual Drun Day Giveaway

Hosted By LEON MOBLEY
Barbara Morrison Community Arts and Performance Space
WHERE: 4305 Degnan Blvd. Leimert Park, Los Angeles, CA 90008
WHEN: Saturday, December 26, 2:00PM – 8:00PM
With Performances By: Leon Mobley & DA LION and other SPECIAL guests:
Admission is one non-perishable food item!

Monday, December 27

The Spiritual Aspects of Kwanzaa

WHEN: Monday, December 27, 2 p.m.
WHERE: L.A. Third Church of Religious Science, 4323 Leimert Blvd. Leimert Park, Los Angeles, CA 90008

The event will include pouring of libation to the ancestors, candle lighting, meditation and refreshments, in addition to a guest speaker.

An exhibition on the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee

WHEN: Monday, December 27, 6:30 p.m.
WHERE: Zambezi Bazaar, 4334 Degnan Blvd. Leimert Park, Los Angeles, CA 90008

A 50-year anniversary tribute to the committee’s self-determination efforts.

Lula Washington Dance Theatre Kwanza Celebration

WHEN: December 27 through 29, call for time
WHERE: 3773 S. Crenshaw Blvd., Los Angeles
COST: TBA
INFO: 323-292-5852, www.lulawashington.com

The Kwanzaa Celebration includes a gala reception and performance and two public performances. This is a great way to bring the family together.
Live music accompanies jubilant dances that span the African Diaspora, with spoken word, singing, special guests, and celebrities.

Tuesday, December 28

Working Together to Build a Better World

WHEN: Tuesday, December 28, 6 p.m.
WHERE: Amos Memorial CME Church, 2445 W. Washington Blvd. Los Angeles, CA

Pastors Thembekila, William Smart and Tony R. Wafford, along with a host of co-sponsors.  Event will include libation, candle lighting, conversation and refreshments.

Lula Washington Dance Theatre Kwanza Celebration

WHEN: December 27 through 29, call for time
WHERE: 3773 S. Crenshaw Blvd., Los Angeles
COST: TBA
INFO: 323-292-5852, www.lulawashington.com

The Kwanzaa Celebration includes a gala reception and performance and two public performances. This is a great way to bring the family together.
Live music accompanies jubilant dances that span the African Diaspora, with spoken word, singing, special guests, and celebrities.

Wednesday, December 29

Lula Washington Dance Theatre Kwanza Celebration

WHEN: December 27 through 29, call for time
WHERE: 3773 S. Crenshaw Blvd., Los Angeles
COST: TBA
INFO: 323-292-5852, www.lulawashington.com

The Kwanzaa Celebration includes a gala reception and performance and two public performances. This is a great way to bring the family together.
Live music accompanies jubilant dances that span the African Diaspora, with spoken word, singing, special guests, and celebrities.

The Power of Spoken Word: Good Inspirations and Sound Economics

WHEN: Wednesday, December 29, 4:30 p.m.
WHERE: The Sisters Market Place, 4339 Degnan Blvd. Leimert Park, Los Angeles, CA 90008

Queen Amina’s Clothing and Mama Sunshine Arts, as well as Sultana’s Princess Ameerah Dolls/Small World Enterprises, are sponsoring “The Power of Spoken Word: Good Inspirations and Sound Economics” at The Sisters Market Place. Join them in an evening of libation, candle lighting, music and spoken word.

Thursday, December 30

The Kwanzaa Youth Summit and Concert Event

WHEN: Thursday, December 30, Summit 12 Noon – 6 p.m., Concert 6:30 p.m.
WHERE: . KRST Unity Center of Afrakan Spiritual Science, 7825 S. Western Ave. Los Angeles

Join adult and youth choirs in a candle lighting ceremony for the entire family. The youth summit — which is from noon to 6 p.m. — will focus on the Nguzo Saba, life skills, youth activism and strengthening cultural and spiritual values.

Friday, December 31

An Evening in Africa — 44th Annual Kwanzaa Karamu Feast

WHEN: Friday, December 31, 6 p.m.
WHERE: Garr Banquet Hall, 5017 S. Western Ave. Los Angeles

The Organization Us will have “An Evening in Africa — 44th Annual Kwanzaa Karamu Feast” with African foods, dance, drumming and poetry. Dr. Karenga will also be present to give a speech.