Celebrating Kwanzaa All
Kwanzaa celebrates our bounty
Family & Harvest
Simplicity & Complexity
Everything that is fine about us.
Kwanzaa honors our collective selves
Ancestry & Legacy
Principles & Symbols
Feasting on our past, present and future.
Goodman Center, 149 Waubesa Street. All are welcome to this mpressive evening event, which begins with a free dinner for the first 125 people,
drumming by Yorel Lashley, the history of Kwanzaa narrated by Chuck Taylor, free book giveaway for children by the Women In Focus, Spoken
Word by Derek Johnson and a performance by the Koija Drill Team from East High School. A highlight of the program will be members from the
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Links Incorporated, the Black Business Association, R U Fit owner
Venus Washington, the Delta Sigma Theta sorority, and the Urban League of Greater Madison, which will each take a principle and discuss it. In
addition, there will be book signings by three Madison writers; Poet Fabu, Catrina Sparkman and Sherry Lucille. Purchasing original books is
keeping with the Kwanzaa tradition of exchanging home-made gifts and gifts that promote knowledge. The evening ends with Kwanzaa cake. This
event is free and open to the public.
Kwanzaa will also be celebrated on Tuesday, January 2 at The Madison Children’s Museum on Tuesday, 10 a.m. until noon, 100 North Hamilton.
There is a cost for adults and children to attend, while qualifying families can pay $1.00. This celebration is a joint effort between Mrs. Edith
Lawrence Hilliard and Poet Fabu and will combine both a Kwanzaa re-enactment with original and true family stories from Mrs. Hilliard who traces
her family back seven generations in Wisconsin. While Madison stores still do not offer Kwanzaa items as they do for Christmas and Hanukkah,
Kwanzaa is a cultural celebration that is here to stay. All are invited to attend either a public or a private celebration to better understand why
Kwanzaa deserves to be enjoyed by all.
Fabu Carter lights the candles of a kinara at a Kwanzaa
Celebration in 2007.
The Kwanzaa celebration begins December 26 to January 1 and Madison will have several events; both public and private. Kwanzaa means “first
fruits” in Swahili and it is based on ancient African harvests celebrations. What is both beautiful and meaningful about Kwanzaa is the seven
principals, the seven symbols and most importantly, all the family and friends who gather for seven days — from right after Christmas to New Year’
s Day — to celebrate African people throughout the world and all that makes us a distinct and unique people.
Kwanzaa is full of African traditions, rituals, and values because it was formulated by Dr. Maulana Karenga in California in 1966, when he was
studying Africa and the Diaspora. His first name, “Maulana” means master teacher and “Karenga” means keeper of tradition. As a teacher and
keeper of traditions, he wanted Kwanzaa to reinforce the seven basic values found in many African, Caribbean and African American cultures
throughout the world. These values are the seven principals of Kwanzaa; Unity, Self-Determination, Collective Work and Responsibility,
Cooperative Economics, Purpose, Creativity and Faith. The seven symbols are seven candles, a candle holder, a mat, corn, the unity cup, fruit
and gifts that are hand-made or functional like books and quilts.
Private celebrations also take place in people’s homes in Madison. Dr. Richard
Ralston, professor emeritus from the Department of Afro-American Studies at the UW-
Madison, was present at Kwanzaa’s creation in southern California and he first
celebrated it with friends in 1967. He continued the celebration in Los Angeles, New
York and Wisconsin when he joined the Department of Afro-American Studies. Ralston
not only celebrated Kwanzaa with his family, but he also shared that he has always
invited students, former students, international students, community folks and ex-
convicts to his home for the celebration. Kwanzaa celebrations continue in various
degrees with the adult members of his family.
Public celebrations in Madison will start with me, Poet Fabu, Tuesday to Saturday,
December 26-30, 1-2 pm at the Goodman South Madison Library, 2222 South Park
Street. All are welcome to an exploration of the daily principles, with related crafts and
activities. Saturday will include traditional African American tea cakes and Kenyan
sweet tea. These events are free and open to the public. Mrs. Edith Lawrence Hilliard
will lead an evening Kwanzaa celebration on Wednesday, December 27, 5-8 pm at The