Kwanzaa has an African American origin, but that doesn't mean you have to be African American to enjoy Kwanzaa: First Fruits today at the Missouri Botanical Garden (4344 Shaw Boulevard; 314-577-9400 or www.mobot.org). The holiday takes its name from the Swahili term matunda ya kwanza, which means "fruits of the harvest," and is observed from December 26 through January 1, with each day devoted to one of seven guiding principles. These principles include unity, creativity and purpose, all of which will be explained by storyteller Janice "Mama" Katambwa as she lights the appropriate candle on the ceremonial kinara at noon and 3 p.m. A small market featuring vendors from Ajanaku Jewelry, Renata's African Influences and Mama Katambwa's own jewelry will be open until 4 p.m. in the Ridgway Visitor Center. Admission to Kwanzaa: First Fruits is free with regular garden admission ($3 to $8).
Wed., Dec. 30, 2009