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Getting Ready For Kwanzaa

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Christmas may be over, but another celebration begins. Wednesday was the first day of Kwanzaa, a seven-day cultural festival for African Americans. News On 6 anchor Latoya Silmon reports Kwanzaa was created in 1966 to help African Americans understand African heritage.

Kwanzaa has been around since 1966, but those who observe it say there are still some big misconceptions about the seven day festival.

“It's an African American celebration not a religious celebration. It's a celebration of our cultural heritage,” said Rosemary Powell, a Kwanzaa observer.

Rosemary Powell says she celebrates Christmas and Kwanzaa.

“About ten years ago, I started celebrating Kwanzaa because I thought it was a wonderful way to celebrate our past and to show hope for our future,” added Rosemary Powell.

A future she says will be brighter if people focus on the festival's seven principles: unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.

“Those are some of the characteristics that I have tried to develop in myself and instill in my children,” said Rosemary Powell.

She says, while there are some public celebrations during Kwanzaa, for her it's mostly a personal journey.

“Mostly during the seven days it's a pretty quiet, what I do at home, is a pretty quiet ceremony. We light one of the candles on the Kanara and we talk about one the principles whichever one is celebrated on that particular day,” said Rosemary Powell.

And instead of mad dashes to the mall, during Kwanzaa, observers take a different route.

“Usually they're homemade or handmade gifts, like something you might prepare like cookies or bread loaves and probably hand crafted gifts for children,” said Rosemary Powell.

This librarian prefers giving books, passing on knowledge something Kwanzaa is all about.

There will be a Kwanzaa celebration on Thursday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Rudisill Library in North Tulsa. The event will feature African dancers, performers, and poets.

Watch the video: Observing Kwanzaa
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