November 29, 2010

40th annual Kwanzaa celebration set at SIUC

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The 40th Annual Kwanzaa Celebration at Southern Illinois University Carbondale is Dec. 5 and everyone is welcome to enjoy the cultural tradition.

The Black Togetherness Organization (BTO) is presenting the program from 4 to 7 p.m. in the lower level of Grinnell Hall. The festivities include entertainment, refreshments and a short program highlighting the meaning and symbols of Kwanzaa.

According to Jasmin Thurston, graduate advisor for BTO, Kwanzaa means “first fruits of the harvest” in the African Kiswahili language and the celebration traditionally celebrates values including family, community, responsibility, commerce and self-improvement. Commemorated Dec. 26 through Jan. 1, each day is marked by a guiding principle of “Nguzo Saba” and represented by seven candles in the “Kinara” candleholder. Founded by Maulana Karenga and first celebrated in 1966, Kwanzaa is now a worldwide celebration observed by millions of people. While the traditional celebration may include the exchange of gifts, Kwanzaa is a celebration of people, heritage, culture and love rather than a commercial or religious event.

“Honoring our History” is the theme of the 2010 SIUC Kwanzaa celebration. Come enjoy light appetizers, apple cider, and performances by campus student organizations. You need not pre-register for this family friendly event.

For more information, contact Thurston at