When Christmas comes to an end, Kwanzaa celebrations begin. Kwanzaa is an African-American and Pan-African holiday celebrating family, community and culture. It is held annually Dec. 26-Jan. 1, and was created in 1966 by Dr. Maulena Karenga, a California professor of African Studies, activist and author. 

“As an African-American and Pan-African holiday celebrated by millions throughout the world African community, Kwanzaa brings a cultural message which speaks to the best of what it means to be African and human in the fullest sense,” Karenga said. 

He stresses that Kwanzaa is a cultural holiday, and was not created to give people an alternative to their own religion or religious holiday. 

Each day of the seven days of Kwanzaa is dedicated to a principle. In Houston and the surrounding area, Kwanzaa activities are sponsored by various organizations. Here is this year’s list of sponsors and activities: 

THURSDAY, DEC. 26 – Umoja (Unity) – Greater Houston Area Kwanzaa Planning Committee, Third Ward Multi-Service Center, 3611 Ennis. Market opens at 5 p.m.; ceremony is at 7 p.m. Contact: 713-521-0629. 

FRIDAY, DEC. 27 – Kujichagulia (Self-determination) – National Black United Front-Houston, Shrine of the Black Madonna Cultural Center, 5309 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. African marketplace opens at 5 p.m.; ceremony is at 7 p.m. Contact: 832-422-7806. 

SATURDAY, DEC. 28 – Ujima (Collective work & responsibility) – Nia Cultural Center’s Kwanzaa Celebration, Old Central Cultural Center, 2627 Avenue M, Galveston, TX 77550. Market opens at 4 p.m.; ceremony is at 5 p.m. Contact: 409-457-8955. Also, SHAPE Community Center, 3903 Almeda. Market opens at 5 p.m.; celebration is at 7 p.m. Contact: 713-398-2681. 

SUNDAY, DEC. 29 – Ujamaa (Cooperative economics) – Nia Cultural Center-Old Central Cultural Center, 2627 Ave. M in Galveston. Ceremony is at 6 p.m. Contact: 409-457-8955 or niacultural.org.

MONDAY, DEC. 30 – Nia (Purpose) – SEHAH Youth & Fitness Center, 5110 MLK Blvd. Market opens at 5 p.m.; ceremony is at 7 p.m. Contact: 713-747-0271.

TUESDAY, DEC. 31 – Kuumba (Creativity) – SHAPE Community Center, 3815 Live Oak. Ceremony is at 8 p.m. Contact: 713-521-0641. 

WEDNESDAY, JAN. 1 – Imani (Faith) – 60 Street African Centered Selfcare, Exchange to Change, 3801 N. MacGregor Way, Houston, TX 77004. Day Party is from 12 noon to 4 p.m., Kwanzaa ceremony and fashion show starts at 2 p.m. Contact Raven Lemon 281-771-7018. Also, Shrine of the Black Madonna, 5309 MLK Blvd. Market opens at 5 p.m.; ceremony is at 7 p.m. Contact: 832-408-1071. 

For more information, visit https://www.shape.org/kwanzaa