At various venues across the state and in the midst of the post-Christmas shopping rush, Marylanders are in the midst of recognizing the African-American holiday of Kwanzaa.
Kwanzaa is a weeklong celebration that takes place each year from Dec. 26 - Jan. 1. It is a distinctly American holiday begun in 1966 as a means of forging a sense of community among African-Americans. The holiday is replete with symbolism drawn from various African cultures.
The word Kwanzaa is derived from a Swahili phrase that means “first fruits.”
In Maryland, Kwanzaa is being celebrated in ways large and small, including at Baltimore’s Maryland African American History & Culture museum from Dec. 28-30, and at the Baltimore Museum of Art, which on Wednesday held a Kwanzaa Family Day that included storytelling, music, dance and crafts.
Meanwhile, at the Central Branch library in Columbia, about a dozen children gathered for an interactive program on Kwanzaa, which included an explanation of what the holiday is about.
The library also hosts similar programs on Christmas and Hanukkah.
“We’re just trying to be inclusive versus trying to avoid everything,” children’s instructor Tamarah Nuttle said.
During her talk on the holiday, Nuttle told those gathered that even though she doesn’t celebrate Kwanzaa herself, she still finds meaning in it.
“To me Kwanzaa is all about family and fun times," she said.