CHICAGO (WLS) -- Celebrations marking the second day of Kwanzaa were held throughout city and suburbs Thursday.
For Chicagoan Queen Ester Flowers and her 6-year old granddaughter, this time of year is all about Kwanzaa.
"I was exposed to it and the black culture, so she can learn more about the black culture, observe it and sustain it," Ester Flowers said.
The celebration of African culture marks its 52nd anniversary this year and its 49th being celebrated here in Chicago at observances like those at the DuSable Museum.
Sharing a season with Christmas and Hanukkah, Kwanzaa has its own symbolism.
The seven-day celebration held from December 26 to January 1 espouses positive values. According to Dr. Conrad Worrill, the former chairman of the National Black United Front, it could be a growing economic engine.
"Now we have to really take it to this level of protecting the economic interest of Kwanzaa among black people," he said.
A marketing survey by the National Retail Foundation shows approximately 1.6 percent (or roughly 4.5 million) of all Americans celebrate Kwanzaa. About 13 percent of African Americans mark the non-religious holiday.
Despite that, few neighborhood businesses are seeing the benefits.
"I'm a small business owner myself and I feel like being in the community, it's hard to really engage," said M.C., a small business owner.
But the hope is through the values of Kwanzaa, future generations will be inspired to strive for independence while connecting to their African heritage.
"Just seeing celebration, vibrant colors and community and love for our history is the experience I hope to get," said Rachel Cheever, who celebrates Kwanzaa.