The City of Jacksonville celebrated Kwanzaa at Unity Plaza in Riverside. Celebrity personality Rahman Johnson served as the host for the occasions. 100+ people showed up to celebrate the 7 principles of Kwanzaa, a secular festival observed by many African Americans from December 26 to January 1 as a celebration of their cultural heritage and traditional values. Kwanzaa is a Swahili word that means “first” and signifies the first fruits of the harvest. In Africa, there are many customs that are common among the various ethnic groups found on the continent. One of these is the celebration of the harvest. At this time of the year, people of the community/village come together to celebrate and give thanks for their good fortune. Working towards a successful harvest is a communal effort, as is the celebration. In America in 1966, Maulana Ron Karenga and the U.S. Organization adopted the basic principles of the harvest celebrations in Africa to create the observance of Kwanzaa. Karenga recognized that on the whole, African Americans do not live in an agricultural setting. Nonetheless, he sought to emphasize that the basic principles found in producing the harvest are vital to building and maintaining strong and wholesome communities. In this-way, Kwanzaa was developed. Kwanzaa is that time when we reflect on our use of the basic principles, share and enjoy the fruits of our labor, and recommit ourselves to the collective achievement of a better life for our family, our community, and our people.
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