The Greater Houston Area Kwanzaa Planning Committee I am because we are. We are, therefore, I am.

Kwanzaa Schedule December 26, 2010


December 26th




December 27th


Collective Work and Responsibility

December 28th


Cooperative Economics

December 29th



December 30th



December 31st



January 1st

Children’s Celebration

Sponsor: Sisterhood Creations Children’s Association

2pm Umoja Unity Community Bike ride departs from:

Third Ward Multipurpose Center


3611 Ennis, Houston TX 77004

Bikes provided by Tour de Hood

4pm Children’s Kwanzaa Rituals

Children’s Celebration

Sponsor: Project Row Houses


El Dorado Ballroom

2310 Elgin Houston, TX 77004

Contact number 713 526-7662

Children’s Celebration

Sponsor: Sisterhood Creations Children’s Association

10-12pm Local Community Garden Service Day


The Marcus Garvey Liberation Garden 5309 MLK Jr. Blvd. Houston, TX 77021

Last Organic Outpost

Alabama Street Garden 2818 Alabama Houston TX

th Ward Community Garden 3707 Brill Street, Houston, Texas 77026 711 N. Emile Houston, TX

Children’s Celebration

Sponsor: The Blue Triangle Multicultural Center and The National Negro Business Women


3005 McGowen, Houston, TX 77004


Sponsor: The African American Library @ the Gregory School 1300 Victor St. Freedmen’s Town Houston, Texas

Children’s Celebration

Sponsor: SHAPE Community Center


3815 Live Oak Houston, TX 77004

Children’s Celebration

Sponsor: SHAPE Community Center


3815 Live Oak Houston, TX 77004

Children’s Celebration

Sponsor: Afrikan’s Committed to Liberation


Karamu: A Kwanzaa Feast

SHAPE Community Center 3815 Live Oak Houston, TX 77004

Family Celebration

Sponsor: The Greater Houston Kwanzaa Planning Committee

Third Ward Multipurpose Center

3611 Ennis, Houston TX 77004

Market Opens: 5pm

Drum Call: 6:30

Family Celebration 7PM

Family Celebration

Sponsor: National Black United Front

3903 Almeda

Houston, Texas

Market Opens: 5pm

Drum Call 6:30

Family Celebration: 7pm

Family Celebration


Uhuru Movement and Sisterhood Creations Children’s Association 713-894-9578

3005 McGowen Houston, Texas 77004

A Night of Spoken Word

Market Opens: 5pm

Drum Call: 6:30

Family Celebration 7PM

Family Celebration

Sponsor: Afrikans Committed to Liberation

The El Dorado Ballroom 2310 Elgin Street Houston, TX 77004

Grand African Ball: Honoring Our Elders 5pm African Market Opens 6pm Drum Call 7pm Family Celebration

Family Celebration

Sponsor Nia Culture Center Old Central Cultural Center 2627 Avenue M, Galveston, TX 77550

African Market Opens 5pm 6pm Family Celebration

Family Celebration

Sponsor SEHAH Youth and Family Fitness Center

5110 MLK Blvd., Houston, Texas 77021

5pm African Market Opens 6pm Drum Call 7pm Family Celebration

Family Celebration

Sponsor: SHAPE Community Center

3815 Live Oak, Houston, TX 77004

6pm African Market Opens 7pm Drum Call 8pm Family Celebration

8pm- until

Family Celebration

Sponsor: Shrine of the Black Madonna

Jaha (713) 876-8226

5309 MLK Blvd, Houston, Texas 77021

Jazz Band: 2-4pm African Market opens: 4pm Durm Call and Fire Ritual: 4:30-5:30pm Family Celebration: 6pm

 OVERVIEW OF KWANZAAKwanzaa is a week-long, African American holiday observance held from December 26 to January 1. Timed to serve as an alternative to the growing commercialism of Christmas, it was founded in 1966 by Ron Everett, a.k.a. Maulana Karenga, African-American activist and director of the Black Studies department at the California State University, Long Beach. Kwanzaa is not a religious holiday, but a cultural one, a syncretic festival, based on various elements of the first harvest celebrations widely celebrated in Africa, around the 10th month of the year. According to a survey conducted by the National Retail Foundation in October 2004, 1.6% of consumers celebrate Kwanzaa.


The name Kwanzaa derives from the Swahili phrase ‘matunda ya kwanza’, meaning “first fruits”. The additional “a” was added to “Kwanza” so that the word would have seven letters, one for each of the Seven Principles, or Nguzu Saba, of Blackness. Each of the seven days of Kwanzaa is dedicated to one of the following principles. In order, they are:

* Umoja (Unity),

* Kujichagulia (Self-determination),

* Ujima (Collective work and responsibility),

* Ujamaa (Cooperative economics),

* Nia (Purpose),

* Kuumba (Creativity), and

* Imani (Faith).

As is customary with most holidays, hosts of Kwanzaa observances choose the best and most beautiful items to display and use. This means taking time to plan and select the most beautiful objects of art, colorful African cloth, and fresh fruits so that every object used represents African idealism and a commitment to the holiday in the best of ways. It is customary to include children in Kwanzaa ceremonies and to give respect and gratitude to one’s ancestors. Often libations are poured, an African custom that has survived in the African-American community to this day. Celebrants are expected to arrive at the celebration with respect for its values, symbols and practices and to do nothing to violate its meaning.

When Kwanzaa was first established, observers eschewed the mixing of the holiday or its symbols, values and practice with the holidays of any other culture. The feeling was that doing so would violate the principle of kujichagulia (self-determination) and thus violate the integrity of the holiday, which is intended, in part, as a reclamation of certain important African values. However, many African-American families who celebrate Kwanzaa also celebrate Christmas and New Year’s, with both Christmas trees and kinaras inhabiting the same space. They view Kwanzaa as an opportunity to incorporate elements which speak to their particular ethnic heritage into holiday observances and celebrations during the Christmas season.


Kwanzaa has seven basic symbols. Each represents values and concepts reflective of African cultures. The basic symbols in Swahili and then in English are:

Mkeka (The Mat) The mat can be made of any material, but is frequently straw. Often red, black and green, the colors of the black nationalist flag, it is a reference to a West African aphorism, “No matter how high a house is built, it must stand on something.”

Kinara (The Candle Holder) This is the symbol of African roots, the “parent people” of continental Africa.

Mishumaa Saba (The Seven Candles) These are symbols referencing the Nguzu Saba, the set of underlying values by which African people are urged to live in order to rescue and reconstruct their lives in their own image and according to their own needs. There are three red candles to the right, three green candles to the left, and one black candle in the center of the kinara. The colors, again, are symbolic of black nationalism: red is for the blood of the African people; green is for the hope of new life and for the motherland, Africa; and black is for the face of the African people.

Mazao (The Crops) These are symbolic of African fruit harvest celebrations and of the rewards of productive and collective labor during the October month.

Muhindi (The Corn)

Corn symbolizes children and the future which they embody.

Black nationalist flag

Zawadi (The Gifts) These are symbolic of the labor and love of parents and the commitments made and kept by the children.

Dr. Maulana Karenga

Creator of Kwanzaa

Professor of Africana Studies

California State University–Long Beach

Chair, The Organization Us and

The National Association of  Kawaida Organizations (NAKO)