“This year we’ll be celebrating Kwanzaa with family history, with the music of our culture, gospel singing,” said Marian Coleman, curator for Noble Hill, a black heritage museum located at 2361 Joe Frank Harris Parkway in Cassville. “We’ll be doing authentic African-American food. We call it soul food. We’ll be having games. ... We also are trying to get a lady to come and speak to us a little about unity — that’s the principle we’ll be talking about this time.”
Created in 1966 by Maulana Karenga, Kwanzaa is an African-American and Pan-African holiday in which people reflect on their culture, family and history, and set goals for the future. By applying principles — unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith — to their lives, the participants work toward bettering their lives and strengthening ties with their family and community.
Along with the 7 p.m. program on Dec. 29, area residents also can view a Kwanzaa display at Noble Hill, which will be on exhibit Dec. 26 to 29 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“The display will have the seven principles,” Coleman said. “We’ll have the table set up with different types of symbols of Kwanzaa. ... [We want the public to know] it’s not a religious holiday. But it is a time when families can get together, remember, reminisce about their history and recommit to goals that would help the family draw closer together and the community draw closer together. And [it is] just a time of fun and fellowship.”
Celebrated annually from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1, www.officialkwanzaawebsite.org said, “[Kwanzaa’s] origins are in the first harvest celebrations of Africa from which it takes its name. ... 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.”
For more information about Noble Hill’s Kwanzaa offering, call 770-382-3392.