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The original item was published from 11/7/2019 2:53:36 PM to 12/13/2019 12:00:02 AM.

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Special Events & Cultural Arts

Posted on: November 7, 2019

[ARCHIVED] Third Annual Kwanzaa Celebration

Bravo Magazine cover, November 2019. Black and blue painting

In addition to local artist and community groups, the event will be hosted by Chicago based storytellers Kucha and Baba Tony who will lead the audience in an interactive celebration of Kwanzaa which will include storytelling, music, food and the lighting of the Kinara candles. This family friendly event is free, open to everyone and we look forward to seeing you.

December 2019 will mark the 53rd annual celebration of Kwanzaa. Kwanzaa is a culturally based holiday that was created for people of African descent. It is a celebration of African history similar in style to the way Christians honor the birth of Jesus during Christmas and Jews commemorate Hanukkah. Kwanzaa has been called a celebration of the harvest and its roots can be found in Nubia and Egypt among other African countries. The name is derived from the Swahili phrase “Matunda ya Kwanzaa” which translates to “first fruits of the harvest.”

Kwanzaa was created by Professor Maulana Karenga who was chair of the Department of African studies at California State University in 1966 to celebrate family, community and culture among African Americans.

Though Kwanzaa is like other December holidays, it has no religious affiliation and is open to people of all faiths or no faith at all to celebrate.

The holiday is celebrated over the course of seven days from December 26th until January 1st. The seven days of celebration signify the seven core principals of Kwanzaa and each day is the focus of one of those core principals. Those principals are as follows:

1. Umoja (unity) 2. Kujichagulia (self-determination) 3. Ujima (collective work) 4. Ujamaa(cooperative economics) 5. Nia (purpose) 6. Kuumba (creativity) 7. Imani (faith).

Like the menorah used by people of Jewish decent to celebrate Hanukkah, Kwanzaa celebrants use the Kinara. The Kinara is a seven-branch candle holder which holds seven candles, three are red, three are green and the center candle is black. The colors are significant as they are also used in other parts of the Kwanzaa celebration; black symbolizes the people, red symbolizes the struggle and green symbolizes the future and hope that comes from the struggle. One candle is lit for each day of the Kwanzaa celebration culminating with the lighting of the center black candle on the last day of the celebration.

#Kwanzaa #ExploreElgin #getprincipled

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