BUFFALO, NY - Kwanzaa is a special time to celebrate family, community and culture.
This year, the theme of the Buffalo celebration is When We Honor Our Ancestors, We Honor Ourselves.
The local committee chairman is excited about the holiday. "We're going to go back and look at those who made our community a better place," said Samuel Radford. "Kwanzaa is really about unifying our communities so we all really understand the value of each other, and what we all bring to make our community better than we found it."
Dr. Maulana Karenga, chair of Cal State Long Beach's Department of Africana Studies, created Kwanzaa in 1966 in what he termed "an audacious act of self-determination."
Kwanzaa is not a religious holiday, it is a cultural and ethnic celebration of black heritage, unity and culture.
Families often celebrate by lighting candles and serving traditional African foods. Kwanzaa is based on seven principles: Unity, self-determination, responsibility and collective work, purpose, cooperative economics, faith and creativity.
Here is list of local Kwanzaa celebrations which begin at 7 p.m.
Wednesday, December 26 - Opening Ceremony, The Buffalo Academy of the Visual and Performing Arts, 450 Masten Ave., performances by Healing Hands, a local troupe of percussionists and dancers, and Tradition Keepers: Black Storytellers of Western New York.
Thursday, December 27 - Buffalo Museum of Science, 1020 Humboldt Parkway. The founder will be the Keynote speaker.
Friday, December 28 - Edward Saunders Community Center, 2777 Bailey Ave. Scheduled to perform are the Daughters of Creative Sound, Njozi Poets and Drea D'Nur.
Saturday, December 29 - A special Children's celebration of Kwanzaa is planned from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Delavan-Grider Community Center, 877 E. Delavan Ave. Guest performers include Watoto from the Nile, the Crusaders Drill Team and MGT Vanguard. In the evening at the Frank E. Merriweather Jr. Library, 1424 Jefferson Ave. A performance by Pappi Martin and the Love Supreme Orchestra, a panel discussion hosted by the Black Chamber of Commerce of Western New York, and poetry by Taharka Odinga.
Sunday, December 30 - Delavan-Grider Community Center with a performance by the Old School B-Boys and poetry by Seku Ba.
Monday, December 31 - A community potluck meal will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. New Year's Eve in the Pratt-Willert Community Center, 422 Pratt St. Participants are encouraged to bring a dish to share. An open-mic night is also planned.
The final day of Kwanzaa on New Year's Day is traditionally reserved for at-home celebrations. No public celebrations are scheduled that day.