Kwanzaa--an African-American holiday--celebration usually starts on the 26th of December and ends on New Year's Day but the African American Culture Center, located on the side of Delaney Hall, decides to celebrate it a little early each year.
Saturday, December 11 at 4:30 p.m. in the Ohio room in the HUB, Kwanzaa came alive. Lights of red, tables of black and accents of green filled the room. The colors red, black and green are the symbolic colors of Kwanzaa. The red represents the color of the blood that was shed by our people. The green represents the color of the land. The black represents the color of our people.The evening started off with some performances by IUP's own African Dance Ensemble, Damage Dolls and Voices of Joy. The performances were followed by a presentation by AACC's graduate assistant Mr. Mahammadou Ganda Nabi. Nabi explained the history of Kwanzaa and why it is an important piece of African-American history.
(African Dance Ensemble/Photo by Tiana Reid)
(Voices of Joy/photo by Tiana Reid)
(Kinara with the candles and the table setting/ photo by Tiana Reid)
Kwanzaa is a national African-American holiday that celebrates the culture of Africa. The holiday stresses the importance of family, community, culture, history and values. There are so many symbolic pieces in the Kwanzaa celebration such as the Kinara, the candle holder that holds seven candles; three in red, three in green and one in black. Each candle represents the seven principles of Kwanzaa:
Kujichagulia- Self determination
Ujima- Collective work and responsibility
Ujamaa- Cooperative economics
The night continuted with students and faculty members lighting the candles and reciting what each candle stood for (each of the seven principles).
Dinner was served shortly after and afterward more celebration with dancing and singing from the Nazu Dance and Drum Ensemble of Baltimore, Maryland. The evening wrapped up with a raffle for children and then one for the adults. Several children walked away with prizes and three adults walked away with wrapped prizes as well.
Kwanzaa is celebrated by millions of people worldwide. It was a great way to end the year and celebrate something so beautiful.
Here's a Video of Voices of Joy (video by Tiana Reid...I apologize for the quality of the video)