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Kwanzaa activities on Long Island

Kwanzaa, the seven-day celebration of African-American history and culture, begins Saturday, and programs marking the holiday will be held at several Long Island institutions.

Kwanzaa begins Dec. 26 each year and emphasizes seven principles: unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.

Ceremonial objects used in a Kwanzaa celebration include a kinara, a candleholder that holds seven red, green and black candles, a Unity Cup that holds a ceremonial libation, as well as corn and other fruits of the harvest.

"For African-Americans, a people who have basically been detached from their culture as a result of slavery, segregation and other social factors in this country, it is important that they be able to develop their own history and traditions based on family and their future aspirations," said David Byer-Tyre, director of the African American Museum of Nassau County in Hempstead. "And Kwanzaa stands as a reminder of that cultural connection and what this particular people aspire to be."

The local Kwanzaa week events begin Saturday at 1 p.m. with a showing of the documentary film "Kwanzaa - The Black Candle" narrated by Maya Angelou at the Elmont Library at 700 Hempstead Tpke. Call 516-354-5280 for more information.

Sunday at 2:30 p.m. there is to be an interactive performance by a Kwanzaa percussion group at the Freeport Library at 144 W. Merrick Rd., 516-379-3274.

Also on Sunday, the African American Museum of Nassau County in Hempstead will present a play titled "Ebony Scrooge" at 4 p.m. and hold a discussion on Kwanzaa.

A Kwanzaa talent exhibition is set for Monday at the Lakeview Library at 1120 Woodfield Rd., Rockville Centre, 516-536-3071.

Tuesday from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Half Hollow Hills Community Library Dix Hills Branch, 55 Vanderbilt Pkwy., a Kwanzaa celebration is scheduled. It's sponsored by the Mother's Club of Wheatley Heights. It will feature a storyteller for families with children ages 3 and older. No registration is necessary. Call 631-498-1229.

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