Watch the Saturday Vigil Mass for the Feast of the Holy Family and Kwanzaa:
What is Kwanzaa?
Kwanzaa is a celebration of family and community values that takes place yearly from December 26 to January 1. Each of its seven days is dedicated to a principle, traditionally expressed in Swahili: umoja (unity), kujichagulia (self-determination), ujima (collective work and responsibility), ujamaa (cooperative economics), nia (purpose), kuumba (creativity), and imani (faith). First celebrated in 1966, Kwanzaa was created by American activist and author Maulana Karenga as a way of uniting and empowering the African American community. Karenga drew on the rich cultural and linguistic traditions of Africa, modeling the holiday after traditional African harvest festivals and naming it after the Swahili phrase for “first fruits,” “matunda ya kwanza.”
While Kwanzaa is often thought of as an alternative to Christmas, many people celebrate both. In fact, Kwanzaa has been observed at St. Nicholas Church since 1999 as an acknowledgement of the rich contributions of African Americans to our Catholic faith.
This year, St. John XXIII Parish will celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family and Kwanzaa at an all-parish Saturday Vigil Mass on December 30 at St. Nicholas Church. Along with our own choirs from St. Mary and St. Nicholas, we will raise our voices in praise alongside the choir from the southside parish of Our Lady of Africa. After Mass, we will have a potluck Karamu feast in Oldershaw Hall; please bring one of your favorite dishes to share! All are welcome. Email Yvonne Smith or Jane Colleton (firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com) for more information about this celebration or about the Evanston-Area Black Catholics.