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Kwanzaa celebrates African culture

<p>It arrives at a religious time of year, but Kwanzaa is a non-religious celebration of African culture that’s attracted a broad spectrum of people in the years since its been held here, organizers say.</p>




Tim Wieclawski/metro ottawa


Ken Campbell explains the symbolism behind some of the items associated with Kwanzaa. The seven-day cultural celebration starts on Dec. 26.





It arrives at a religious time of year, but Kwanzaa is a non-religious celebration of African culture that’s attracted a broad spectrum of people in the years since its been held here, organizers say.





“It is a very social event that showcases the very best of our culture,” said Ken Campbell, organizer of Ottawa’s annual Kwanzaa celebration on Dec. 30.





The weeklong observance of Kwanzaa — marked from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1 — started in 1966 in the United States as a way for African-Americans to reclaim their identity and instill pride and dignity into the community, said Campbell.





“The focus is on the shared experience and is a means for the people of Africa to share their culture.” said Campbell.





This year the Kwanzaa celebration received a grant from the provincial government to help commemorate the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade.





Through the celebration of Kwanzaa, Campbell said the commemoration of the abolition will also be marked.





“We’re doing it in a way that people won’t feel guilty or feel bad,” he said. “We are here because of those people that came before us. We’re a part of them and they are a part of us.”





For more information, visit the website www.jakukonbit.com.




tim.wieclawski@metronews.ca

 
 
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