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Kwanzaa begins with Family Day at Museum of Art


Celebrate the African-American holiday of Kwanzaa on Sunday at the Baltimore Museum of Art. The museum's free Kwanzaa Family Day takes place on the first day of the holiday, which runs each year from Dec. 26 through Jan. 1.

Created in 1966 by California State University at Long Beach professor Maulana Karenga, the nonreligious holiday of Kwanzaa celebrates family and community. Patterned after African harvest festivals, the holiday highlights a different principle each day and features a candle-lighting, a feast and often a gift exchange. Kwanzaa's seven principles are unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.

Kwanzaa Family Day at the BMA will celebrate unity. Visitors will enjoy an afternoon of African dancing and drumming, storytelling, a mask-making workshop, a film, gallery tours and more.

"This is the 12th year that we've done the event," says Kateri Harried, BMA public programs coordinator. "It's become a holiday tradition to come out to Kwanzaa Family Day."

The afternoon event offers performances at 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. by Sankofa Dance Theater, with the group presenting traditional West African dancing and drumming.

Puppeteer Carolyn Koerber entertains all ages with the Nigerian tale The Flying Tortoise at 3 p.m.

The film The Language You Cry In, which traces the history of an 18th-century burial hymn, will be shown at 2:15 p.m.

Visitors can explore the many African masks, headdresses and other objects throughout the museum during the "African Heritage, American Expression" tour at 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. They can then make and keep their own African mask at a hands-on workshop from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

"It's a great opportunity for us to educate the public about the African culture," Harried says. "And we're pleased to bring it to the community."

Kwanzaa Family Day runs from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at the Baltimore Museum of Art, 10 Art Museum Drive. Free. Call 410-396-6314.

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