Even though it's right smack in the middle of a thousand different religious celebrations, Kwanzaa is not a religious holiday. Dr. Maulana Karenga founded it in 1966 as a way for African Americans to honor the values of their African roots and to inspire those working toward progress. The celebration is based on the year-end harvest festivals that have taken place throughout Africa for thousands of years. The holiday begins Dec. 26 and ends Jan. 1.
Each day of the holiday honors a different principle.
Day 1: umoja (unity)-do something to build your community
Day 2: kujichagulia (self-determination)-use your voice and make choices for the benefit of your community
Day 3: ujima (collective work and responsibility)-help others in your community
Day 4: ujamaa (cooperative economics)-support businesses that care about your community
Day 5: nia (sense of purpose)-set goals for the benefit of your community
Day 6: kuumba (creativity)-find ways to make your community better and more beautiful
Day 7: imani (faith)-believe that a better world can be created for present and future communities
Celebrate the holiday in the Jackson community at the Kwanzaa Celebration of Kuumba at Jackson State University's Gallery1 (1100 John R. Lynch St., 601-979-9250). Local nonprofit Women for Progress is partnering up with the community to present the third annual event Dec. 31 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. The celebration includes hands-on activities, music and food. Admission is free. Call 601-960-9250 for more information.