Dear Fellow Resident,
This past Monday the celebration of Kwanzaa began and continues through January 1. I invited, Lisa Mosley, our neighbor and board member of our Inclusion, Diversity and Equity Advisory (IDEA) Board, to share with us more about Kwanzaa. Lisa tells us,
Kwanzaa is a holiday honoring the culture and traditions of people of African origin. It is celebrated by people from a range of African countries and their descendants. Kwanzaa consists of a week of celebrations, which ends with a feast and the exchange of gifts.
During the celebrations, candles are lit, and libations are poured. A libation is the name given to the ritual of pouring a drink as an offering to a God. During Kwanzaa, a wooden unity cup is used to pour the libations.
A Kwanzaa ceremony often also includes performance of music and drumming, a reflection on the Pan-African colors of red, green, and black and a discussion of some aspect of African history. Women often wear brightly colored traditional clothing. Some cultural organizations hold special exhibitions of African influenced art or performances during the period of the celebrations.
The main symbols of Kwanzaa are a mat, on which to put the things needed for the celebration, the unity cup used to pour libations, a candle stick holding seven candles, the seven candles, ears of corn, the Kwanzaa flag and a poster depicting the seven principles of Kwanzaa. The seven principles of Kwanzaa are: unity; self-determination, collective work and responsibility, co-operative economics, purpose; creativity, and earth.
The colors of Kwanzaa are red, black, and green. The Kwanzaa flag consists of three blocks, one in each of these colors. Three of the seven candles are red, three are green and one is black. Each candle represents one of the principles of Kwanzaa. The candle holder is carved from a single piece of wood and its shape was inspired by the form of the Ashanti royal throne.
Kwanzaa was first celebrated in December 1966 and January 1967. Kwanzaa gained popularity quite quickly. It is now estimated that about 13 percent of African Americans (nearly five million people) celebrate the festival in some way.
Thank you, Lisa! If you are interested in learning more about the Harrison Township IDEA Board, you can do so here.
On behalf of my fellow Committee members, Deputy Mayor Julie DeLaurentis, Committeewoman Michelle Powell and Committeemen John Williams and Adam Wingate, we wish you Kwanzaa blessings to you and yours.
Together for Harrison Township,