Procession, Feast of the departure of Kwanzaa

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LOS ANGELES (CNS) – The 45th edition of what organizers say is the world’s oldest Kwanzaa procession was held today in South Los Angeles to mark the start of the seven-day African-American festival.

The KwanZaa Gwaride started on Adams and Crenshaw Boulevard, then headed south on Crenshaw Boulevard to Leimert Park, where a festival was held. It included poured libations, blessing of the grounds, and performances of percussion, jazz and spoken word.

The festival ended with the lighting of the Umoja candle.

“This is our celebration. It’s our new year, ”RW Akile, president of Kwanaa People of Color, who is organizing the procession, told CBS2.

Kwanzaa’s 2021 theme is “Practice Kwanzaa and the Seven Principles: Ensuring the Well-Being of the World”.

“As a Pan-African festival with ancient agricultural origins, Kwanzaa celebrates the good of the land and carries with it a commitment to protect, preserve and share this good,” wrote Maulana Karenga in its founder’s annual message. “And Kwanzaa’s modern origins in the Black Freedom Movement engage him in the achievement of liberation and social justice.

“Thus, in the Kawaida philosophy, out of which Kwanzaa and the Nguzo Saba were created, environmental justice and social justice are inseparably linked in the moral imperative to achieve and ensure the African and human good and the well-being of the world.

Karenga, president of Africa Studies at Cal State Long Beach, created Kwanzaa in 1966 in what he called “a bold act of self-determination.”

Karenga describes the holiday as “a celebration of family, community and culture and celebrated by millions of people in the African community around the world. Kwanzaa brings a cultural message, which speaks best of what it means to be African and human in the fullest sense.

The goal of Kwanzaa is “Nguzo Saba”, the seven principles – unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economy, purpose, creativity and faith.

During the week, a candelabra called Kinara is lit and ears of corn representing each child in the family are placed on a traditional straw mat.

African foods such as millet, spicy pepper balls, and rice are often served. Some people fast during the holidays, and there is often a feast on the last night.

A three-bar flag – red for the struggle for freedom, black for unity and green for the future – is sometimes displayed during the holidays.

Kwanzaa is based on Kawaida’s theory, which argues that revolutionary social change for black America can be achieved by exposing black people to their cultural heritage.

Kwanzaa’s nightly celebrations and workshops will be held at the African American Cultural Center in Long Beach from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

Pasadena will host its 33rd Annual Kwanzaa Celebration from 11:00 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Tuesday via Zoom. Registration can be made at pasadena.evanced.info/signup.

For Holly J. Mitchell, chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Directors, the best way for people to celebrate Kwanzaa is to “learn about Kwanzaa,” to understand its seven principles and what Karenga was focusing on. these principles “in terms of self-determination. and the community, how to build a community, how to support the community and how to support the family.

“It’s really about community and having the opportunity to talk and think about yourself and your role in the community,” said Mitchell, who studied with Karenga at UC Riverside.


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