Three decades ago, Dr. Maulana Karenga started a celebration of African cultural heritage that is celebrated by millions of participants today.
The celebration is Kwanzaa, and the seven-day observance starts Thursday. Here are some sites to help prepare for the celebration:
One of the most complete sites is MelaNet's Kwanzaa Information Center (www.melanet.com/melanet/kwanzaa) is one of the most complete sites. Here you can learn about the origins and recent history of Kwanzaa. There's also information about the symbols of Kwanzaa such as the mkeka - the straw mat on which items are placed during the celebration.
A schedule with details of Kwanzaa events can also be found here. There's even a link with a detailed list of Kwanzaa children's books.
Part of the celebration includes the seven symbols of Nguzo Saba. You can learn more about these principles at www.earthlink.net/holidays/kwanzaa/
On Dec. 31, a "Karamu" - or feast - is held and gifts are exchanged.
The table set for a Kwanzaa feast will look much different from the traditional Christmas table. On a table set for Kwanzaa, you might find African tomato-avocado-buttermilk soup or Southern fried okra.
For information on these and many more dishes, drop by the Kwanzaa recipe page (http://members.tripod.com/~Nancy_J/Kwanzaa.htm).
Frederick Douglass Designs has an online display of Kwanzaa greeting cards. The address is: www.citycom.com/fddesigns/.