A Soulful Christmas: A Celebration of American Holiday Traditions

The Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor is sponsoring it's third annual Christmas Tree Lighting and Holiday Celebration on Saturday, December 9th starting at noon.

This year's holiday theme is the celebration of African American holiday traditions which center on family, the meaning of Christmas, festive meals, music, Kwanzaa and story telling. Events will be held in two locations, the Michigan Street Baptist Church, 511 Michigan Street, and Pilgrim Baptist Church, 665 Michigan Street. A Soulful Christmas is a celebration of African American Holiday traditions that are practiced during the holiday season and reflect the blending of African and American culture and heritage.

This year, A Soulful Christmas, includes Kente Claus, gospel music, The Tradition Keepers (Storytellers), the lighting of the tree, and a holiday village and marketplace that features children's arts and crafts, vendors and of course good food! Santa is now represented by different racial and ethnic groups and we have our very own Santa to delight old and young alike. Kente Claus exposes all children to an afro-centric Santa who wears Kente Cloth from Ghana and portrays a Caribbean, African A m e r i c a n and African  interpretation  of Christmas. Kente Claus is an example of how African American culture unites African heritage and American tradition.

He will tell the story of Christmas throughout the diaspora and in Africa. Gospel Music dominates African American holiday tradition and during A Soulful Christmas there will be numerous opportunities to enjoy some of the best gospel singers that Buffalo has to offer. Gospel music uplifts the spirit and is appreciated around the world...similar to the popularity of jazz and the blues. There will be music through out the day with concerts and caroling! The preservation and perpetuation of African traditions is also deeply rooted in the celebration of the holiday season.

The Tradition Keepers; Black Storytellers of Western New York are committed to promoting story telling using folk tales containing vivid imagery, humor, and call and response to enhance self esteem, improve listening skills, critical thinking and stimulate the desire to read. They will be reading stories from 12:30- 1pm in our Holiday Village and Marketplace (Pilgrim Baptist Church).

Children will receive a book of their choice, donated by Book Bike. A Soulful Christmas will culminate with a tree lighting ceremony that features candles lit by elders that will be handed to each subsequent generation including the youngest. Come celebrate the beauty and meaning of the holidays!

All are invited to attend as we gather to celebrate and say thank you to those who have supported the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor. (The schedule is below)

For more information go to www. michiganstreetbuffalo.org.