Owner of “I Am Me African Boutique” in Beaumont Mary Ekene says she enjoys helping people connect to their roots.
BEAUMONT, Texas — Kwanzaa is underway and millions around the globe are celebrating African-American culture through the seven principles of Kwanzaa.
Kwanzaa is a week-long holiday that is observed annually from December 26 to January 1.
Each day a candle is lit to focus on one of the seven principles.
The seven core principles include Umoja (Unity), Kujichagulia (Self-Determination), Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity) and Imani (Faith).
Longtime observer of the holiday Christopher Jones says there are many lessons to be learned.
“With the practices and how it teaches family, community, and different things like that, since yesterday was the day of unity,” Jones said.
Some of the traditional dresses of Africa can be found at “I Am Me African Boutique”, where store owner Mary Ekene says she enjoys helping people connect to their roots.
“So when they come in, not only are they enlightened by stuff with Kwanzaa we kind of have that conversation about the history as well. You know it’s also fun for me since they come in their apparel,” Ekene said.
Apparel isn’t the only reason people choose to celebrate. From the candles each day, everything has a meaning.
“Lighting the candles, pouring of the libations different things like that that are tied to our diaspora. To connect to that significance of it is why I practice.It’s inclusive and for all mankind,” Jones said.
Sending a constant reminder to friends and family is something to help connect and celebrate.
“Almost everyone in my phone is in the process of celebrating the seven days of Kwanzaa with me. I text them and I share what these particular days mean,” Jones said.
Dr. Maulana Karenga, the creator of Kwanzaa, describes the holiday as “a unique time to remember and honor our ancestors; to reflect on what it means to be African and human.”
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[Video] Youtube Kwanzaa: Its meaning, its roots, and how it's celebrated in South Texas
Compared to Christmas and Hanukkah, Kwanzaa is a much newer holiday.