Kwanzaa celebrations ring out across Chicago

December 26, 2012 4:37:03 PM PST
Drums signaled the start of Kwanzaa, a week-long celebration of African heritage and culture, Wednesday.

This is the 18th year that Malcolm X College has hosted a Kwanzaa observance and organizers said the event gets larger every year.

"it's about the ritual, it's about the culture, it's about the history," Jamila Onyeali of the Council of Elders said. "It's about families coming together so that they can be with each other and talk about where we've come from where we are now and where we must go as a people."

Kwanzaa is based on seven principles and each of the seven days is dedicated to one of those principles. Wednesday's designated principle was unity and families seemed to be taking it to heart as different generations celebrated together.

Steven Flowers brought his niece and nephew to the observance.

"I think it's important for young African Americans to understand and know about their culture," Flowers said.

"In today's society, it's all about commercial things and 'buy me buy me', Kwanzaa is family oriented," observer Maruwa Thomas said.

Young people were the focus of a Kwanzaa celebration at the Bronzeville Children's Museum. It enabled children to get an early start learning about their heritage.

The celebration at Malcolm X College is free and runs December 26 through January 1 from noon to 4 p.m. In addition to daily performances, there's a marketplace where you can buy traditional African clothing and food.


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