Celebrating Kwanzaa

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Kwanzaa is an African-American holiday, which intertwines African traditions with American customs. Kwanzaa is celebrated from Dec. 26-Jan. 1. It was first celebrated on Dec. 26, 1966 in Los Angeles by Maulena Karenga, Ph.D., along with his family and friends.

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ONE MAN CAN NOT LAUNCH A SHIP (SWAHILI)—Amani, Keanu and Naeem Davis, sons of Larry Davis. (Photo by Debbie Norell)

On Dec. 26, in the lovely Edgewood home of Margaret Larkins Pettigrew and Chentis Pettigrew, scores of guests celebrated the first day of Kwanzaa, “Umoja” and a kick off to the New Year with the families of Pettigrew, Larkins, Wheaton, Minnis, Thomas, Bellow, Mikell, Marshal, Wilson and Frazier.

After a meet and greet guests viewed a history of African people complete with spiritual music, the music of Marvin Gaye (What’s Going On) and Grand Master Flash (The Message). At this time a libation ceremony was conducted by their son Chen-lo Pettigrew. Chen-lo is an international artist, humanitarian, teacher, writer, speaker and entrepreneur with a passion for purposeful music and art. He performs with the Liberation Family.

The libation ceremony asks the gods and ancestors to share in the festivities and in return, to bless all the people who are present, as well as their families and friends who are not at the gathering. The libation is poured in the direction of the four winds-north, south, east and west to honor the ancestors.

After the ceremony there was a meaningful discussion on things affecting the Black community. The group spoke of AIDS, education and teen pregnancy and shared the names of groups that offered solutions. The evening concluded with a feast (Karamu) of catfish, chicken, goat stew, lamb stew, cabbage, greens, green beans, macaroni and cheese, vegetable casserole, Scrimp, cornbread, sweet potato pie, peach cobbler and more.

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