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Kwanzaa begins Wednesday; parade planned in South L.A.

December 25, 2012 | 12:55 pm

The weeklong Kwanzaa holiday begins Wednesday and crowds are expected to gather in South Los Angeles to kick off the celebration.

The 36th annual KwanZaa Gwaride Parade and Festival is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Adams and Crenshaw boulevards. It will wind its way about two miles to Leimert Park, according to the KwanZaa in Los Angeles website.

Maulana Karenga, chair of Cal State Long Beach's Department of Africana Studies, created Kwanzaa in 1966 in what he termed "an audacious act of self-determination."

In his annual Kwanzaa message, Karenga wrote this year that "the celebration and season of Kwanzaa is a deeply meaningful and special time of remembrance, reflection and recommitment for us as a people throughout the world African community."

Karenga said Kwanzaa is based on seven principles: unity, self-determination, responsibility and collective work, purpose, cooperative economics, faith and creativity. Families often celebrate by lighting candles and serving traditional African foods. While some people fast during the holiday, there is generally a feast on the final night for all.

For other activities throughout the Kwanzaa holiday, click here:

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-- Ari Bloomekatz

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