Learn about Kwanzaa

By on December 4, 2012

Black Student Awareness Committee hosted their annual Kwanzaa event in the HUC Great Hall Wednesday, Nov. 28.

A Kinara--traditional candles representing seven core principles of Kwanzaa--being lit for Kwanzza. Wikimedia Commons

To make the attendants more aware of the holiday, BSAC played a historical account of how Kwanzaa began. It was created by Dr. Maulana Karenga in 1966 and was meant to reflect on the African American culture and harvest season throughout the holidays.

It is celebrated Dec. 26 through Jan. 1. Now, the cultural gathering of a few homes in Detroit has grown to millions of African Americans worldwide.

Most of the principles are still spoken in the East African Swahili language during the Black Nationalist movement of the 1960s. When greeting one another, one uses the phrase “Habari gani?” which translates to “how are you?” The other would respond with whatever day of the Kwanzaa it is: Umoja (Unity).

BSAC called seven ladies to light the kirana (seven headed candle) representing the seven principles of Kwanzaa: Unity, Self-Determination, Work and Responsibility, Economics, Purpose, Creativity, and Faith. As they lit the candles, the spokeswomen called out the definition of each principle.

The colors of Kwanzaa are black, red and green to represent the roots of Africa; many people wear these colors on their African attire or put them up as pendants around the house.

Speaker Marsha Kelley-Sutton commented on the values that individuals are supposed to take from Kwanzaa. Since it was created during the Black Nationalist days, Kwanzaa points to the self-worth of the black community. “The more you have in here [mind], the more value you are” is one of the sayings that is recognized by all cultures today.

“Very informative event. I learned different aspects of Kwanzaa and was able to relate it to my roots,” commented event attendee Garry Barnes.

This year the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute will be holding the celebration on December 27, 2012 and will be free to the whole community.

Carlene Robinson
Staff Writer

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