Communities around the Triangle are celebrating Kwanzaa, which begins each year the day after Christmas and concludes on New Year’s Day.
Kwanzaa is a week-long celebration devised in 1966 by Maulana Karenga, an African-American professor. During that time, an increasing number of African countries became independent from European colonial powers and integration was beginning to take hold in the United States.
Karenga hoped Kwanzaa, which promotes unity throughout the African diaspora, would help African-Americans discover and reflect upon their roots. The word “Kwanzaa” is part of a Swahili phrase meaning “fruits of the harvest,” an invocation of the holiday’s emphasis on lineage and ancestry.
Each of Kwanzaa’s seven days represents a principle of Karenga’s ideals for the pan-African community.
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Cary hosted a Kwanzaa celebration at the Cary Arts Center Friday, with performances and a ceremony. But there’s still time for other celebrations, and to learn more about the holiday.
▪ The African American Dance Ensemble’s KwanzaaFest starts at 11 a.m. Monday, Jan. 1, at the Walltown Recreation Center in Durham.
This is the first time since the celebration began in 1984 that the event will be without Chuck Davis, a centerpiece of Durham’s dance and cultural scene. Davis died in May, and KwanzaaFest is raising money this year for a performing arts scholarship in his name.
Admission is free, but donations of canned foods and toiletries are encouraged and will be passed on to a local nonprofit. Go to aadekwanzaafest.wixsite.com for more information.
▪ Also in Durham, the city will host its own Kwanzaa celebration from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 30, at the Holton Career and Resource Center, 401 N. Driver St.
Held on the fifth day of Kwanzaa, the event will include family-friendly entertainment and celebrate the holiday’s fifth principle – “Nia,” or purpose.
Gargan: 919-829-4807; @hgargan