Family, community, culture part of Kwanzaa - Metro US

Family, community, culture part of Kwanzaa

After nine years, Ottawa’s Kwanzaa celebration has grown into one of the biggest in Canada.

The theme for this year’s celebration is Kwanzaa Celebrates Us, said Kenneth Campbell, president of Jaku Konbit, the group organizing the Dec. 27 event.

“It really is a celebration of the many talents and resources that are within our local community,” he said. “It’s very dynamic and colourful. It’s very diverse too. When you come to the event you see a lot of different ethnic groups there.”

Traditionally, Kwanzaa is a seven-day celebration of African-American heritage and culture based on the rituals of African harvest festivals.

It runs from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1, with each day devoted to observing a different principle, represented by seven candles, explained Tarrah Mauricette, program manager with Jaku Konbit’s Academy and summer camp.

The principles are unity, self-determination, collective work, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.

Campbell said Kwanzaa has become an important celebration for the community because it is a non-religious, non-political tradition that celebrates family, the community, and culture.

The goal of the celebration, he said, is to promote the best of their culture, heritage and the importance of family as a foundation for the community.

This year’s event is taking place at the Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral Hall at 1000 Byron Ave.

The group already has big plans to mark its 10th year.

Mauricette said they are planning to hold the 2010 celebration at Canadian Museum of Civilization.

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