Douglass High to hold annual City Kwanzaa Celebration on Saturday

Wednesday, December 5, 2012 | 5:29 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — The annual City Kwanzaa Celebration, sponsored by the Columbia Parks and Recreation Department, will be held from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at Douglass High School.

Kwanzaa is a cultural celebration linked to African-American heritage and is often misinterpreted as a religious holiday. It lasts from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1, and it is centered on seven core principles: unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.

“It’s a non-secular, African-American celebration that highlights the importance of elders and the seven principles,” Bill Thompson, recreation specialist for Columbia Parks and Recreation, said.

The celebration is held in early December to show families how to create their own celebrations during Kwanzaa week. The event focuses on family and community values.

“Families don’t really come together as much today,” Thompson said. “This program shows how people can utilize the seven principles to strengthen families.”

The free event will include songs, dances and a Kwanzaa feast. Nia Imani, president of the board of directors of the Fun City Youth Academy, will be giving a presentation during the celebration.

"To me, Kwanzaa is a time to review your life in that year and to think to the coming year," Imani said. "It's a time to look at what you're proud of and what you aren't so proud of and how you are going to improve."

Some members of the community that display one of the seven principles will be honored during the ceremony; however, everyone is invited to come and take part in those cultural experiences.

“It’s nice to let people in the community know that we appreciate what they are doing,” Thompson said.

The event has been taking place each December for about 20 years, and the turnout has been as high as 300 people, Thompson said.

“If you have ever wondered about Kwanzaa, this is a good opportunity to find out what it is,” Thompson said. “Come out and find what it means to bring family back in a way that is fun and enjoyable.”

Supervising editor is Simina Minstreanu.

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