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From eyes of Africans, today's world is a living legacy of western culture's dominance that is laden with misconceptions, distortions, along with misinterpretations. These holidays are from their point of view. Another spectrum, is global African communities (whom are descendants of slavery, as well as those born on the motherland) never investigate why they celebrate them.
Only a few Africans research these traditions leaving an overwhelming majority that practice them without asking any questions. ThIs is from centuries of mental conditioning of celebrating these holidays dating back to slavery along with colonialism. Obviously, African culture has been replaced with western narratives. In this contemporary world, Africans seldom take time to examine these celebration's origins. Consequently, huge amounts of money are spent on Christmas along with other holidays that could be used more wisely or perhaps not spent at all. Especially, if one cannot afford it. Maybe it might be wise to break these vicious yearly credit card debts.
Nowhere is this more evident than Easter, Thanksgiving along with, Christmas which is based on religion as well as pagan traditions. It would be remiss not to include Columbus's Day because of its hidden importance. Christmas will be highlighted due to its month-long how many days before Christmas countdown. In this same time, there are bombardments of easy credit promotions along with constant television advertising, billboards' displays, along with Radio stations' campaigns, put consumers into a buying frenzy. Now we shall proceed with a brief presentation of these holidays from an African perspective.
This holiday has been celebrated globally in an unbroken tradition going back to many centuries before Jesus was even born, therefore, cannot have had any original connection to him. Easter was originally (and still was) a celebration, renewed each springtime. Which has nothing to do with the resurrection of Jesus. These traditions of eggs, chicks, rabbits, as well as flowers, are all fertility symbols (and much older than the Christian symbol of the resurrected god). Its celebration has often been marked by sexual exuberance, as is still prominent in the pre-Lenten, Carneval and also, Mardi Gras festivals, as well as phallic symbolism of the May pole and the cross.
It is sufficed to say; from an African perspective, Easter consists of a combination of Bible teachings along with Pagan traditions, that has been institutionalized in western culture. Which will be presented as follows:
Long before Jesus, a countless number of people associated this festival with the coming back to life of the god of fertility (Tammuz - see Ezek 8:14, Adonis, Osiris, Perseus, Orpheus), who had been dead in the underworld during a winter. Even the name by which Christians still celebrate this festival is a corruption of the name of the ancient fertility goddess Ishtar or Ashtoreth (whose name also survives by the name of the Old Testament, the only Bible book that contains no reference to God - the Book of Esther).
According to the Venerable Bede, Easter derives its name from Eostre, an Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring. A month corresponding to April was named; Eostremonat or Eostre's month, leading to Easter becoming applied to the Christian holiday that usually took place within it. Prior to that, the holiday was called Pasch (Passover), which remains its name in most non-English languages. (Based on the similarity of their names, some connect Eostre with Ishtar, the Babylonian and Assyrian goddess of love and fertility, but there is no solid evidence for this.)
It seems probable that around the second-century A.D., Christian missionaries seeking to convert tribes of northern Europe noticed Christian holiday commemorating the resurrection of Jesus roughly coincided with Teutonic springtime celebrations, which emphasized a triumph of life over death. Christian Easter gradually absorbed these traditional symbols. In Medieval Europe, eggs were forbidden during Lent. Eggs laid during that time were often boiled or otherwise preserved. Eggs were thus a mainstay of Easter's meals, a prized Easter gift for children and servants. In addition, eggs have been viewed as symbols of new life of fertility through the ages. It is believed that for this reason many ancient cultures, including the Ancient Egyptians, Persians, and also Romans, used eggs during their spring festivals.
Many traditions and practices have formed around Easter eggs. The coloring of eggs is an established art, and eggs are often painted, or otherwise decorated. Eggs were also used in various holiday games: parents would hide eggs for children to find to roll eggs down hills. These practices live on in Easter egg hunts, as well as egg rolls. A famous egg roll takes place on the White House lawn every year. The most elaborate Easter egg traditions appear to have emerged in Eastern Europe. In Poland and Ukraine, eggs were often painted silver and gold. Pysanky (to design or write) eggs were created by carefully applying wax in patterns to an egg. The egg was dyed afterwards wax would be reapplied in spots to preserve that color, and the egg was boiled again in other shades. The result was a multi-color striped or patterned egg.
Hares as well as, rabbits have long been symbols of fertility. The inclusion of the hare into Easter's customs appears to have originated in Germany, where tales were told of an " Easter hare " who laid eggs for children to find. German immigrants to America — particularly Pennsylvania — brought the tradition with them and spread it to a wider public. A special design cake was baked for Easter in the shape of hares, and may have pioneered the practice of making chocolate bunnies and eggs. Easter's cards arrived in Victorian England, when a stationer added a greeting to a drawing of a rabbit. According to American Greetings, Easter is now the fourth most popular holiday for sending cards, behind Christmas, Valentine's Day, and Mother's Day.
Although we associate wearing brand new clothes in spring with the Easter holiday, the tradition dates back to ancient times. Pagan worshipers celebrated the vernal equinox with a festival in honor of Ostera, the Germanic Goddess of Spring, and believed that wearing new clothes brought good luck. The Iranian new year, celebrated on the first day of Spring, have traditions rooted in the ancient pre-Islamic past. These traditions include spring cleaning and wearing new clothes to signify renewal and optimism. Similarly, the Chinese have celebrated its spring festival, also known as Lunar New Year, by wearing brand new clothes. It symbolized not only new beginnings, but an idea that people have more than they possibly need.
In the early days of Christianity, those whom were baptized wore white linen robes at Easter to symbolize rebirth of life. Nevertheless, it was not until 300 A.D. that wearing freshly bought clothes became an official decree, as the Roman Emperor Constantine declared that his court must wear the finest brand new clothing on Easter. Eventually, the tradition came to mark the end of Lent, when after wearing weeks of the same clothes, worshipers discarded the old frocks. A 15th-century superstitious proverb from Poor Robin's Almanack stated that if one's clothes on Easter were not new, one would have bad luck.
In the 16th century during the Tudor reign, it was believed that unless a person wore new garments at Easter, moths would eat the old ones, and evil crows would nest around their homes. In the Post-Civil War era Easter's traditions as we know it was not celebrated in America until after the Civil War. Before that time, Puritans and the Protestant churches saw a no-good purpose in religious celebrations. After the devastation of the war, however, churches saw Easter as a source of hope for Americans. Easter was called " The Sunday of Joy, " and women traded the dark colors of mourning for the happier colors of spring.
In the 1870s, the tradition of the New York Easter Parade began, in which women decked out in their newest and most fashionable clothing walked between the beautiful gothic churches on Fifth Avenue. The parade became one of the premier events of fashion design, a precursor to New York Fashion Week, if you will. It was famous throughout the country, and people who were poor or from the middle class would watch the parade to witness the latest trends in fashion design. Soon, clothing retailers leveraged the parade's popularity and used Easter as a promotional tool in selling their garments. By the turn of the century, the holiday was as important to retailers as Christmas is today. After their baptisms, early Christians wore white robes all through Easter's week to indicate their revival. Those had already been baptized wore clothes instead to symbolize their sharing a life with Christ.
In Medieval Europe, churchgoers would take a walk after Easter Mass, led by a crucifix or the Easter candle. Today these walked were endured as Easter Parades. People show off their spring finery, including lovely bonnets decorated for spring. Orthodox Christians in the Middle East and in Greece painted eggs bright red to symbolize the blood of Christ. Deep-set eggs (created by piercing the shell with a needle and blowing out the contents) were decorated with pictures of Christ, the Virgin Mary, among other religious figures in Armenia. Germans gave green eggs as gifts on Holy Thursday, and also hung hollow eggs on trees. Austrians placed tiny plants around the egg and then boiled them.
By the middle of the 20th century, dressing up for Easter had lost much of any religious significance it might have had, and instead symbolized American prosperity. A look at vintage clothing ads in a fashion, school library shows that wearing new clothes on Easter was something every wholesome; family was expected to do.
The Truth About Columbus's Day
Let’s continue with Columbus’s so-called discovery of America in 1492 where everyone has been taught he was a great explorer, along with being an outstanding humanitarian. Actually, creditable historians have indisputable evidence that others arrived before Columbus. Among them were " Eric The Red " in 950 A.D. as well as, China’s expedition arriving in 1434, along side history records indicating there were scores of contact before Columbus.
A hidden truth about Christopher Columbus is his second voyage was a conquering mission. Which led to slavery followed by colonialism that still has a lingering effect among Africans everywhere. Columbus returned to Spain with a great fabrication.
The Spanish Monarchy was so elated they immediately financed his second voyage in 1493. In keeping their promise, he was now Admiral of the Ocean Sea along with being Viceroy as well as, Governor of his so-called New-World. Columbus was outfitted with 17 assorted vessels, cannons and also, attack dogs plus five priests with 1200 men with an assortment of weapons that made up his ” The Grand Fleet ”. Christopher Columbus purpose was to establish a permanent Spanish colony. Actually, it was Europe's first colony in America. Under Columbus’s leadership, his men attacked all indigenous Taino's, sparing neither men, women nor children. Warfare, forced labor, starvation along with diseases reduced Hispaniola’s Taino population (estimated at one million to two million in 1492) to extinction within 30 years.
In today's contemporary world, he would have been found guilty of crimes against humanity with entries from his own diary. If a native resisted his or her nose or an ear would be cut off, If they tried to escape, Columbus had them burned alive. His acts of cruelty were unspeakable but legendary. Even in his own day – Governor Franciso De Bobadilla arrested Columbus together with his two brothers, slapped them into chains. They were shipped to Spain for their crimes against the Tainos. Nevertheless, King Ferdinand II of Aragon together with Queen Isabella I of Castile, pardoned him by letting him go free, but not before stripping Columbus’s authority in Hispaniola.
Until the European so-called discovery of America, there was only a relatively small slave trade between Africa and Europe. Needing labor to replace the rapidly declining Taino, Spain introduced African slaves to Hispaniola in 1502; by 1510, the trade was essential to all of Caribbean economies.
First, this trade was only a trickle then it grew to a major flood which led to a Trans Atlantic Slave trade, which eventually grew into colonialism. Despite this evidence against him, every second Monday in October, there is a Christopher Columbus Day. Conversely, his celebration is against common sense because his original intent was finding a shorter sea route to the Far-East or legendary Silk Road. This important fact has been totally forgotten during Columbus's day celebrations. For Africans along with indigenous people together with outraged people from all nationalities are seeking his Holiday to be banned.
The Real Thanksgiving
Let’s continue by examining Thanksgiving from an African perspective. Before an establishment of formal religions, many ancient farmers believed their crops contained spirits, which caused them either to grow or die. Many believed these spirits would be released when these crops were harvested, therefore they had to be destroyed, or they would take revenge on farmers who harvested them. Some of these harvest festivals celebrated a defeat of these spirits. Throughout history, mankind has celebrated bountiful harvest with types of ceremonies similar to Thanksgiving.
Much of America’s understanding of early relationship between indigenous inhabitants together with Europeans is conveyed through a story of Thanksgiving. It proclaimed a holiday in 1863 by Abraham Lincoln, this fairy tale of a feast was allowed to exist in Americans imagination pretty much untouched until 1970, the 350th anniversary of Pilgrims landings.
That is when Frank B. James, president of the Federated Eastern Indian League, prepared a speech for a Plymouth banquet that exposed those Pilgrims for having committed, among other crimes, the robbery of the graves of the Wampanoags. He wrote:
“We welcomed you, the White man, with open arms, little knowing that it was the beginning of the end; that before 50 years were to pass, the Wampanoag would no longer be a free people.”
However, White Massachusetts officials told him he could not deliver such a speech and offered to write him another. Instead, James declined to speak, and on Thanksgiving Day hundreds of Indians from around the country came to protest. It was a first National Day of Mourning, a day to mark the losses indigenous inhabitants suffered as the early settlers prospered. This true story of “Thanksgiving” is what Whites did not want Mr. James to tell.
Howcver, from a single-paragraph account in a writing of one Pilgrim, a harvest feast did take place in Plymouth in 1621, probably in mid-October, but Indians, who attended were not even invited. Though it later became known as ” Thanksgiving, ” these Pilgrims never called it that. And amidst the imagery of a picnic of interracial harmony is some of the most terrifying bloodshed in its history.
The Pilgrim crop had failed miserably that year, but agricultural expertise of Indians had produced twenty acres of corn, without which pilgrims would have surely perished. The Indigenous people often brought food to these Pilgrims, who came from England ridiculously unprepared to survive and hence relied almost exclusively on handouts from the overly generous Indigenous people-thus making the Pilgrims the western hemisphere’s first class of welfare recipient.
The Pilgrims invited Indian Sachem Massasoit to their feast, and it was Mr. Massasoit, engaging in the tribal tradition of equal sharing, who then invited ninety or more of his brothers and sisters-to the annoyance of the 50 or so ungrateful Europeans. No turkey, cranberry sauce or pumpkin pie was served; they likely ate duck or geese, along with venison from five deer brought by Massasoit. In fact, most, if not all, of the food was most likely brought and prepared by the indigenous people, whose 10, 000-year familiarity with cuisine of this region had kept the Whites alive to that point.
The Pilgrims wore no black hats or buckled shoes-these were silly inventions of artists hundreds of years since that time. These lower-class Englishmen wore brightly-colored clothing, with one of their church leaders recording among his possessions ” one pair of green drawers. ” Contrary to the fabricated lore of storytellers’ generations since, no Pilgrims prayed at their meals, as well as supposed cheers of fellowship must have dissipated quickly once these Pilgrims brandished their weaponry in a primitive display of intimidation. What’s more, they consumed a good deal of home-brew.
In fact, each Pilgrim drank at least a half-gallon of beer a day, which they preferred even to water. This daily inebriation led their governor, William Bradford, to comment on his people ” notorious sin, ” which included their ” drunkenness and unseemliness ” along with rampant ” sodomy “. Harvest festivals as well as, Thanksgiving celebrations were held by the ancient Greeks, Romans, Hebrews, Chinese, and Egyptians. Therefore, a celebration of Thanksgiving is not a new concept, but a creative American tradition.
In 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt set Thanksgiving one week earlier. He wanted to help business by lengthening the shopping period before Christmas. Congress ruled that after 1941, the 4th Thursday in November would be a federal holiday.
The Truth About Christmas
Many people globally celebrate Christmas more than any other holiday. For all Christians, this is a special time during a year when Jesus Christ's birth is recognized along with its celebration. For others is it time to give a plethora of parties without Christ being mentioned. Christmas in America is just that ”Christmas in America. This celebration is an eclectic holiday involving bits and pieces from many customs as well as traditions. Is Christmas a happy fiction? There is no record of when Jesus Christ was born according to a Roman Catholic encyclopedia.
Although December 25th is a date when most people celebrate Christmas, there are some other dates as well! Some churches (mainly Orthodox churches) use different calendars for their religious celebrations. Orthodox Churches in Russia, Serbia, Jerusalem, Ukraine, Ethiopia along with some Greek Catholics also celebrated on January 7th with other countries use an old 'Julian' calendar. Most people in the Grecian Orthodox Church celebrate Christmas on December 25th, in Armenia, their Apostolic Church honors' Christmas on January 6th. It also celebrates 'Epiphany' on this day.
Additionally, there is also a litany of tradition that has nothing to do with Jesus's birth, such as Christmas Trees. Germany is credited with starting a Christmas tree tradition as we now know it in the 16th century when devout Christians brought decorated trees into their homes. Some built Christmas pyramids of wood and decorated them with evergreens and candles if wood was scarce. It is a widely held belief that Martin Luther, a 16th-century Protestant reformer, first added lighted candles to a tree. Walking toward his home one winter evening, composing a sermon, he was awed by a brilliance of stars twinkling amidst evergreens. To recapture the scene for his family, he erected a tree in the main room and also, wired its branches with lighted candles.
Most 19th-century Americans found Christmas trees an oddity. The first record of one being on display was in the 1830s by German settlers of Pennsylvania, although trees had been a tradition in many German homes much earlier. The Pennsylvania German settlements had community trees as early as 1747. Nevertheless, as late as the 1840s Christmas trees were seen as pagan symbols that were not accepted by most Americans.
It is not surprising that, like many other festive Christmas customs, the tree was adopted so late in America. To aNew England Puritans, Christmas was sacred. The pilgrims’s second governor, William Bradford, wrote that he tried hard to stamp out “pagan mockery” of the observance, penalizing any frivolity. The influential Oliver Cromwell preached against “the heathen traditions” of Christmas carols, decorated trees, and any joyful expression that desecrated “that sacred event.” In 1659, the General Court of Massachusetts enacted a law making any observance of December 25 (other than a church service) a penal offense; people were fined for hanging decorations. That stern solemnity continued until the 19th century, when an influx of German and Irish immigrants undermined the Puritan legacy.
In 1846, Queen Victoria along with her German Prince, Albert, were sketched in the Illustrated London News standing with their children around a Christmas tree. Unlike the previous royal family, Victoria was very well-liked with her subjects, and also what was done at court immediately became fashionable—not only in Britain, but with fashion-conscious East Coast American Society. The Christmas tree arrived. By the 1890s Christmas, ornaments were arriving from Germany and Christmas tree popularity was rising around the U.S. It was noted that Europeans used small trees about four feet in height, while Americans liked their Christmas trees to reach from floor to ceiling.
The early 20th century saw Americans decorating their trees, mainly with homemade ornaments, while the German-American sect continued to use apples, nuts, and marzipan cookies. Popcorn joined in after being dyed bright colors and interlaced with berries and nuts. Electricity brought about Christmas lights, making it possible for Christmas trees to glow for days on end. With this, Christmas trees began to appear in town squares across the country and having a Christmas tree in the home became an American tradition.
The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree dates back to the Depression-Era days. The first tree at Rockefeller Center was placed in 1931. It was a small unadorned tree placed by construction workers at a center at a construction site. Two years later, another tree was placed there, this time with lights. These days, the giant Rockefeller Center tree is laden with over 25,000 Christmas lights. The tallest tree displayed at Rockefeller Center came in 1948 and was a Norway Spruce that measured in at 100 feet tall and hailed from Killingwort, Connecticut. The Rockefeller Center tree is located at Rockefeller Center, west of Fifth Avenue from 47th through 51st streets in New York City.
Christmas Cards appeared in the United States of America in the late 1840s, but were very expensive and most people couldn't afford them. It 1875, Louis Prang, a printer who was originally from Germany but who had also worked on early cards in the UK, started mass producing cards so more people could afford to buy them. Mr. Prang's first cards featured flowers, plants, and children. In 1915, John C. Hall and two of his brothers created Hallmark Cards, who are still one of the biggest card makers today!
In the 1910s and 1920s, home-made cards became popular. They were often unusual shapes having things such as foil and ribbon on them. These were usually too delicate to send through the post and were given by hand. Nowadays, cards have all sorts of pictures on them: jokes, winter pictures, Santa Claus or romantic scenes of life in past times. Charities often sell their own Christmas Cards as a way raising money at Christmas.
Charities also make money from stickers used to seal envelopes. This custom started in Denmark in the early 1900s by a postal worker who thought it would be a good way for charities to raise money, as well as making cards more decorative. It was a great success: over four million were sold in the first year! Soon Sweden and Norway adopted the custom, and then it spread all over Europe and also, to America.
When carols were first sung in Europe thousands of years ago, but these were not Christmas Carols. They were pagan songs, sung at Winter Solstice celebrations as people danced round stone circles (The word carols originally meant to dance to something). The Winter Solstice is the shortest day during a year, usually taking place around the 22nd December. The word Carol actually means dance or a song of praise and joy! When Carols used to be written as well as sung during all four seasons, but only its tradition of singing them at Christmas has really survived.
Alternatively, is there something sinister about Christmas, which few realize? Which can do damage if overlooked? When great preparations are made with colorful lights, along with festive decorations, waiting for a midnight visit from “ jolly old Saint Nick “. Part of the tradition is when family together with friends gathered for a lavish meal. What could be more family-friendly than a Christmas celebration?
For hundreds of millions across the Western world today, Christmas time is family time. And it is especially a time of fun for children! Nativity plays, Christmas carols along with waking up with great anticipation on Christmas morning, expecting to find gifts under the Christmas trees is childhood memories cherished by countless millions. Children expect candy, colors and also, Christmas trees along with its lights, songs, stories well as gifts. Today’s Christmas traditions are designed to create powerful memories children will look back on fondly for the rest of their lives. Why would any parents choose to deprive their children of these memories?
This might be difficult for some parents to comprehend a Santa Claus myth. Actually, you are lying to your children. This myth is so entrenched into western culture that you will get reprimanded for telling the truth. A several years ago, the morning disc jockey at Babylon, New York’s WBAB-FM told his young listeners that there was no Santa Claus. Outraged mothers and fathers complained to the station, and disc jockey John Parise was forced to apologize to on his show.
What A Paradox!
Parents want their children to learn to tell the truth. Nevertheless, they set an example of lying about Santa Clause and may even become upset when it is exposed! In the reality of these traditions, not only Santa Claus, Christmas cards, Christmas trees and the litany of traditions have nothing to do with the birth of Christ.
Americans regardless if there are Christians or not are swept into this frenzy of spending money. However, every year many say, Christmas is a happiest time during a year. This is not true, behind that commercial facade it’s the most dangerous. Fact, Police records along with other media records indicate no other season has more shop lifting, and feuds, together with drunk drivers, accidents, fires, divorces, depression, along with suicides.
There is a prominent analysis of mortality rates during different times during a year found that people are more likely to die during the ” Holiday Season ” notably on Christmas or New Year’s Day” as well as, researchers cannot explain the yearly spike. More people die in-hospital emergency wards, or dead-on arrival, on any other days throughout the year. The celebration of Christmas is nothing more than a money-making mechanism for revenue. The major companies gain most of their revenue during the Christmas seasons. Whereas, those of us that are fortunate enough to escape the tragedy of a Christmas death only to be confronted with massive debt.
The ” Holiday Season, ” means different things to each ethnic group. It is essential Africans' everywhere to put things in its proper perspective. First, acknowledge these cultural differences. Although, some entertain that we are a big happy family. The truth is, we are not. Obviously, we cannot identify with our culture because it was substituted during slavery. Africans in Americas are living these changes. Whereas, Portuguese, Spanish, English, s well as French is spoken, along with Christianity review their spending habits. It is s important to embrace monetary prudence contrary to reckless spending. Realizing these seasonal traditions is merely a money-making mechanism for main stream's financial, institutions..
These holidays presentations give a completely different viewpoint from what is customary in western culture. African's everywhere will be able to understand these ideologies but from their own perspective. Mindfully, these holidays are among many others with two similarities. They are either pagan traditions or biblical without any regard to African culture. Notably, these holiday's fallacies are carefully disguised by everyday daily activities. Such as radio talk shows, as well as television broadcasts, together with an assortment of entertainment that is counter-productive. Additionally, it is institutionalized in schools, along with many religious institutions.
Therefore, it is incumbent to seek information from blogs, newsletters, worldly publications that are devoid of western influence. It is a responsibility well as a duty for Africans to understand these holidays from their own perspective. In a nut shell, most of these celebrations are about spending money. The most prominent of these holidays is a Christmas spending frenzy that begins after Thanksgiving so-called black Friday. From there is a month-long countdown to how many days until Christmas. Actually is promotions for buying spree. Not surprisingly, a large percentage of major corporations profits depend on Christmas-related sales of such items like Christmas cards, trees with its assortment of decorations, along with social activities as such as parties together with a fallacy of Santa Claus's gift giving frenzy.
When taken from an African perspective, these traditions can either be accepted or rejected. Needless to say, everyone should choose carefully before making any financial decisions on any of these holidays. At the very least, responsible parents whom know its origins can curtail their spending. Mindfully, for those who elect not to participate have a viable alternative by beginning every year with honoring Haiti's traditional Liberty Soup celebration.
Which begins with its Saint Dominque slaves rebellion, that represents African slaves winning their freedom on a battlefield. Which began in 1791 by Boukman who was immediately hung but was followed and by Toussaint L’Ouverture who was a former slave who rose to carry revolution and was eventually captured and imprisoned at Fort de Joux in France. However, one year later under a leadership of Jean-Jacques Dessalines, one of L’Ouverture’s generals defeated the French in 1803. Although, Saint Dominque's revolution was already won, Dessalines waited until January 1, 1804 to bring in a new year by declaring themselves a Haitian Republic.
Noteworthy, there is another hidden successful African revolution when Ethiopians defeated an Italian army at Adowa, on March 2, 1896, becoming an only African country to escape colonialism. Using these two principals historical event's together other heroes as well as heroines such as Marcus A. Garvey, Carter G Woodson, Patrice Lumumba, Carlos Cooks, Malcum X, Steve Biko, etc. Appropriately, ending each year with a week long Kwanzaa celebrations.
Edited: By Sabamya Jaugu
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