Kwanzaa: An African American and Pan-African Holiday “Celebrating 25 years at Morgan State University”

The Office of Community Service at Morgan State University held their annual Kwanzaa celebration on December 3rd in the University Student Center. The event focused on giving back to Baltimore City’s youth.

Upon arrival, every guest had to register. At this event, it represented the African American culture celebrating 25 years. There where vendors available selling items to reflect African heritage. Some of the things that were sold were clothing, jewelry and hats.

The event was open to the public, as Morgan students taught grade students from grades k-12 about the seven day celebration that takes place in three weeks. Parents brought their children to the event so that they could gain knowledge of what Kwanzaa is and what it represents. In that, each child had the opportunity to take part in activities planned for the day, which included face painting, arts and crafts, a scavenger hunt and games.

At noon, a program was set for all guests to get a glimpse of Kwanzaa by seeing it through song, dance, step and skits prepared by Morgan students, children from schools in the community and residents of Baltimore.

As the program went on throughout the day, a band performed near the stage and played songs from African roots. Some children were picked to come on stage to state their name, what school they attend and a career path for the future. One of the children that spoke, said that they would like to become a millionaire. When the child was asked what they would do with it, the child responded “A large pizza!”

Morgan faculty, staff and students made this event a success by setting up the ballroom with decorations, having lunch served by volunteers, and making sure guests were comfortable. Every child in attendance enjoyed the program and learned a lot to share with others.

In 1966, Kwanzaa was established by Dr. Maulana Karenga, a professor of Africana Studies at California State University, Long Beach. Karenga is an author and scholar-activist that teaches the importance of an integral need to preserve, continually regenerate and promote African American culture.

Kwanzaa, is an African American and Pan-African holiday that celebrates family, community and culture. It is celebrated from December 26-January 1. Kwanzaa’s origin came from the first harvest celebrations of Africa.

The name Kwanzaa comes from the phrase “mutunda ya kwanza” which means “first fruits” in Swahili, which represents a Pan-African language that is the most widely spoken African language.

Kwanzaa is rooted back to the first fruits from ancient times in Egypt and Nubia. There are five fundamental activities of Continental African first fruit celebrations that Kwanzaa is built on: ingathering, reverence, commemoration, recommitment, and celebration.

When it comes to the African-American branch of Kwanzaa, it has been rooted in ancient history and culture to celebrate the history of African Americans in America. Kwanzaa is celebrated in America during the holiday drawing the cultures from various African countries.

Kwanzaa is celebrated by African Americans because it traces back history, values, family, community and culture.

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