Local News Archive
Print Issue: January 2, 1997
Local Catholics Observe Kwanzaa
ATLANTA-Approximately 250 people attended Kwanzaa, a cultural, religious and communal commemoration of life, love and unity, Saturday, Dec. 14 at St. Paul of the Cross Church.
Kwanzaa, a cultural holiday created in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga, takes place from Dec. 26 through Jan. 1. Each day is dedicated to one of the principles for daily living, which are then practiced throughout the new year.
They are: Umoja meaning unity; kujichagulia meaning self-determination; Ujima meaning collective work and responsibility; Ujamma meaning family life and cooperative economics; Nia meaning purpose; Kuumba meaning creativity; and Imani meaning faith.
Every day of Kwanzaa a candle is lit beginning with a black candle which is the center of the candle holder. The three green candles are placed on the left of the black candle, representing Africa and the aspirations for the future, and three red candles are placed on the right, representing the blood that has been shed by elder members of the African-American community. Each day a principle of Kwanzaa is recited when the candle is lit alternately from left to right.
The call to worship began at noon with a drum procession and a welcoming ceremony. Father Melvin Shorter, CP, pastor of St. Paul of the Cross Church, then lead participants in a prayer service. Youth choirs from St. Anthony of Padua Church, Atlanta, Sts. Peter and Paul Church, Decatur, and St. Paul of the Cross and the teen ministries from various parishes performed. Participants then shared in the "karuma" or feast and prizes were awarded to winners of the Kwanzaa art and essay contest.
Among the first place winners of the poster and essay contest were Cleofe Sloan, St. Anthony's; Kristi Marie Williams, Most Blessed Sacrament, Atlanta; Matthew Goginsky, St. Thomas More, Decatur, and Katie Bleau, St. Thomas More. Second- and third- place winners included Kevin Koskinas, St. Thomas More; Magan Ngoto, Our Lady of Lourdes, Atlanta; Ansley Pike, St. Thomas More; Ashley Odom, Our Lady of Lourdes, Sarah Trammell, St. Thomas More, Brianna Donald, St. Thomas More; Omar Bell, Lindley Middle School, and Timothy Jones, St. Anthony's.
Entertainment included the duo, "Living Water" formerly known as "Joyce and Jacque" and a dance troupe coordinated by Sam Diallo.