Annual Kwanzaa Celebration Honors African Culture, Consciousness

November 29, 2006

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. - Illinois Wesleyan University's Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Black Student Union (BSU) will host the annual Kwanzaa Celebration on Tuesday, Dec. 5, at 5:30 p.m. in the Turfler Room of the Memorial Center, 104 E. University St., in Bloomington.  Food will be served and the event is free and open to the public.

The term Kwanzaa is derived from the phrase "matunda ya kwanza," which means "first fruits" in Swahili, the most popular dialect in Africa, and corresponds with the celebration of ancient African harvest celebrations.

Established in 1966 by Maulana Karenga, Kwanzaa, which is a cultural rather than religious celebration, is an opportunity for people to reflect at the end of the year while looking ahead to the next year.  In addition, the celebration serves to build community, enrich African-American consciousness, and introduce and reinforce the "Nguzo Saba," or seven principles.  The principles are: "Umoja" (Unity), "Kujichagulia" (Self-Determination), "Ujima" (Collective Work and Responsibility), "Ujamaa" (Cooperative Economics), "Nia" (Purpose), "Kuumba" (Creativity), and "Imani" (Faith).

Nationally, Kwanzaa takes place from Dec. 26 through Jan. 1.  However, Illinois Wesleyan will celebrate the holiday early because students and faculty will be on winter break during this time.

For additional information, contact the Office of Multicultural Affairs at (309) 556-3412.

Contact: Rebecca Welzenbach, (309) 556-3181