Weeklong Kwanzaa celebration begins today

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ST. THOMAS - Kwanzaa begins today in the territory and runs for the next week with events and activities to celebrate family, community and culture.

The week-long cultural holiday, celebrated from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1, was created in 1966 by scholar and social activist Maulana Karenga.

During the seven days of Kwanzaa, a different principle is taught each day. Kwanzaa celebrants light a candle each day to commemorate the value of the day, pour libations in remembrance of ancestors, hold feasts and exchange gifts.

The name Kwanzaa is derived from the Swahili phrase "matunda ya kwanzaa," which means "first fruits of the harvest."

The seven principles of Kwanzaa are:

- Umoja (Unity).

- Kujichagulia (Self-determination).

- Ujima (Collective work and responsibility).

- Ujamaa (Cooperative economics).

- Nia (Purpose).

- Kuumba (Creativity).

- Imani (Faith).

DaraMonifah Cooper, the founding directress of KWANZAA365 and Sankofa Saturdays, issued a press release that this V.I. Kwanzaa season is "livicated" to three past culture-bearers in the territory: Edward "Nab Eddie Bobo" Collier, Professor Gene Emanuel and Ras JahStarr Koniyah. All three passed away within the last two years and left a legacy of promoting Pan-African traditions.

Cooper's release included the following scheduled events:

Today - Umoja (Unity)

- St. Croix, 6 p.m., Daily Nguzo Saba Observances for Kwanzaa by Per Ankh Khamniversity Institute and Khammunity. Call 244-2524 or email perankh@gmail.com.

- St. John, 6 p.m., AKA Sigma Theta Omega Chapter at Cruz Bay Park. Call 998-3530

- St. Thomas, 6 to 10 p.m., African Diaspora Youth Development Foundation at Wesley Methodist Educational Complex Tutu (next to Four Winds Plaza and across the street from Gomez school). Call 473-7274.

Thursday - Kujichagulia (Self-determination)

- St. Thomas, 6:30 to 11 p.m., Pan-Afrikan Support Group and Environmental Rangers, Charlotte Amalie High School Cafeteria. Call 998-1792.

Friday - Ujima (Collective work and responsibility)

- St. Thomas, 5 to 9 p.m., a community video screening of "500 Years Later" and "Motherland" followed by an open dialogue at Arian's Bar and Restaurant in Sub Base.

Saturday - Ujamaa (Cooperative economics)

- St. Thomas, 3 p.m. to midnight, Beach Fyah at Coki Point featuring live music, fashion show, local foods, arts and crafts and a bonfire.

- St. John, 8 p.m., "Ah Roaryal Affair Full Moon Event for Kwanzaa" at Roaryal Abeba Health Food Lounge featuring food and drinks all night. $10 entry. Call 677-0497.

Sunday - Nia (Purpose)

- St. Thomas, 4:30 p.m., St. Thomas Association of Road Runners 7 Principles Run (4.3 miles) at the University of the Virgin Islands' soccer field. Call Roy Watlington at 777-8183.

- St. Thomas, 7 p.m., "Dance Nice Again" Strictly Conscious Reggae Dance at Natural Livity Kulcha Shop.

Monday - Kuumba (Creativity)

- St. Thomas, Ital Ase hosts sunrise and sunset Hatha Yoga at Brewers Beach.

Tuesday - Imani (Faith)

- St. Thomas, 1 p.m., United Communities Kwanzaa Potluck at Brewers Beach. Bring a natural dish or seasonal refreshment and a cultural or literary gift for the Kwanzaa Zawadi Exchange.

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