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Kwanzaa Begins on St. Croix

Dec. 26, 2005 – The first day of the annual Kwanzaa observances were heralded in by the steady beat of African drums Monday evening at the Per Ankh Holistic Retreat and Sanctuary in Estate La Grange in Frederiksted.
This year’s audience was just a handful of close friends and family who gathered to reflect on the year's experiences and recommit themselves to the seven basic values of Kwanzaa – Umoja, unity; Kujichagulia, self determination; Ujima, collective work and responsibility; Ujaama, cooperative economics; Nia, purpose; Kuumba, creativity and Imani, faith.
ChenziRa D. Kahina, Per Ankh co-founder, said last year's commemorations brought together a host of organizations to share the holiday. This year, she said, more people are observing Kwanzaa in their homes with their families. She thought it was good that people are taking it on themselves to continue the tradition.
Kwanzaa lasts seven days, beginning on Dec. 26 and ending on Jan. 1. The observance was first celebrated in the United States in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga, a professor of Black Studies at California State University, Long Beach.
Prominent among the symbols associated with Kwanzaa is the Seven Candles, or Msihumaa Saba. The seven candles — three red, three green and one black — symbolize the basic set of values of Kwanzaa. Each evening a candle is lit, beginning with the center candle and alternating from left to right until all candles are lit.
"Kwanzaa is a time for people of African ascent to gather our sacred resources in harmony with humanity to respect our family, nation, roots and culture to insure that our future generations know who they are, respect the value of life and contribute to stopping the violence plaguing our global communities," Kahina said.
The group will sponsor another community gathering on Jan 1, the seventh day of Kwanzaa.
On St. Thomas Kwanzaa observances are hosted by the African Diaspora Youth Development Foundation Inc.; Pan African Support Group; Ital Ase and other cultural community organizations. Kwanzaa gatherings will be held everyday at noon at Ital Ase Botanica in Havensight above Modern Music.
Here are some other scheduled events in St. Thomas:
Dec. 26, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
African Diaspora Youth Development Foundation gathering and presentations at the Methodist Church (Across from Gomez School )
Dec. 27, 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Pan African Support Group at the Charlotte Amalie High School Cafeteria
Dec. 28, 9 a.m. to 12 noon
Children’s annual Kwanzaa gathering, storytelling and book reading at the Enid M. Baa Public Library

Jan 1, 11 a.m. until
Pot Luck Kwanzaa Reason-Up at Brewer’s Beach

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