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On the first day of Kwanzaa, everything you need to know about the holiday

One advocate says that learning about your own culture helps you understand other cultures
A discussion about Kwanzaa
Posted at 1:04 PM, Dec 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-27 16:05:05-05

COLORADO SPRINGS — Kwanzaa has started for communities not only across the country but across the globe. The holiday, created in 1966 by Maulana Karenga, aims to help people of African descent restore, reaffirm, and understand their cultural roots.

"Kwanzaa is like any of the other cultural celebrations, Oktoberfest, Cinco de Mayo," says Dr. Anthony Young, founder of the Kuumba Cultural Collective of Southern Colorado.

Dr. Young brought the holiday to Southern Colorado in 1977 with his 4 daughters and is an advocate of the holiday.

"It's grown to a national, not just national but international celebration, and we celebrate the good and the best of what it means to be a person of African descent," says Young.

He says that the holiday is an important thing for many in the Black community.

"It's important that we come around, gather, and share the good. But we're celebrating anything that's positive, that's one time for us to come together and really appreciate one another," said Young.

One of the traditions of Kwanzaa revolves around the lighting of seven green, red, and black candles. Each candle represents a different principle that people should think of and abide by.

First, the middle black candle is light, signifying unity. The others that follow are self-determination, collective work, and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith.

Dr. Young thinks that celebrating one's own culture can help people to understand and appreciate other cultures.

"Having children understand their not just own history and culture is very important, but that of other people who do not share their same cultural group," he says. "It's very important that we eradicate ignorance with cultural knowledge because in the absence of valid information, people fill in the gaps, and usually they guess wrong".

The Kuumba Cultural Collective is celebrating each night of Kwanzaa at the In-Balance Studio located at 2820 E Pikes Peak Avenue from 6 pm to 7:30 pm. The event
is free and open for people of all cultures to experience.

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