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With Christmas over, week of Kwanzaa just beginning

By Naomi Prioleau
Dec. 26, 2012 at 10 p.m.


While Christmas and Hanukkah may be over, Kwanzaa is just beginning.

The seven day celebration, which started yesterday and goes through New Year's Day, celebrates family, community and culture.

Monica Lombard who works at the Blue Frog Grill knows all about the week-long celebration as she used to host it with a friend in Marshall a few years ago.

Although she wasn't able to celebrate it this year due to work, she said it's still something she'd like to continue doing if there were more interest in it from the community.

"There was a lack of interest from the community," Ms. Lombard said. "If there had been more publicity for it or people came to me in February talking about it we would do it."

Each day of Kwanzaa represents a different principle. Tuesday, Dec. 26, represented umoja or unity which strives to maintain unity within the community, family, nation and race.

Today's principle, kujichagulia or self-determination means to define, name, create and speak for yourself.

Ms. Lombard, who hails from New Orleans, said each of the seven principles served as a great learning tool for her and others who participated in Kwanzaa when she would hold the celebrations at her friend's house.

"We discussed each principle and tried to implement each principle on the day," she said. "It's not really a holiday it's just principles to live by and implement throughout the whole year."

Among the people who would attend her Kwanzaa celebration were both adults and children. Ms. Lombard thought it was especially important that children celebrated Kwanzaa. She made pamphlets and booklets for the children to take home and read to give them a better understanding about it.

"It was really important to teach the kids that it's not about presents, it's just about a season of unity and togetherness," Ms. Lombard said. "My hope for it was to grow each year."

With five days of Kwanzaa left, Ms. Lombard said holding the celebration in Marshall is something she'd like to do again.

"I wouldn't be opposed to doing it again," Ms. Lombard said. "It's not too late to talk about it and it's never too late to start planning it for next year."

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