UNH Celebrates Kwanzaa

Vanessa Estime

On December 1, the Black Student Union, Caribbean Student Association, and National Society of Black Engineers hosted a Kwanzaa Celebration for the whole University of New Haven community. Despite the low number of attendees, about twenty students, faculty, and staff enjoyed spending time together in the Alumni Lounge learning about the history of Kwanzaa while partaking in a dinner prepared by students.

Members of the Executive Board, Cora St. Marie, Speruthia Jeantel, and Calvin Knight, welcomed everyone to the event and introduced the history of the African holiday, Kwanzaa. Originating from the Swahili phrase, matunda ya kwanza, Kwanza means “first fruits of the harvest.” From December 26 to January 1, people in America gather together to celebrate African-American culture and unity.

After the history and significance of Kwanzaa was retold at the event, a brief intermission was given, and everyone ate a delicious meal consisting of rice, barbeque chicken, baked macaroni and cheese, and salad and talked with friends or made new acquaintances with others.

The Kwanzaa celebration ended with the lighting ceremony. Cora St. Marie, Speruthia Jeantel, Calvin Knight, Shenika Burton, Shniqua Christian, and Janine Jean-Pierre all lit the candles on the kinara. Each of the seven candles represent the seven principles of Kwanzaa, or Nguzo Saba.

The seven candles (principles) are Umoja (unity), Kujichagulia (self-determination), Ujima (collective work and responsibility), Ujamma (cooperative economics), Nia (purpose), Kuumba (creativity), and Imani (faith). It was surely an informative event held, and next year’s event will be highly anticipated.