Columbia hosts Kwanzaa celebration

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COLUMBIA - The city of Columbia hosted an early Kwanzaa celebration on Saturday. The event was hosted by the city's Parks and Recreation Department. 

This year, the celebration was dedicated to Wynna Elbert who worked at Parks and Recreation for 34 years as a supervisor. 

Kwanzaa is a holiday centered around developing positive families and the communities. In Swahili, the holiday means "the first fruits of the harvest."

The celebration included a lot of performances from local dance groups, traditional African music and dances and food. Jabberwocky Studios performed a step and hip-hop routine for the crowd. 

Deanna Broadus lives in Columbia and came to the event to watch her daughter perform her step routine. Although she does not celebrate the holiday, she thinks the event is good for the community. 

"It's really great to have a place with open doors to see these performances," Broadus said. "It gets people out and gets people to get familiar with others and their culture, and realize we all get along."

Linda Schust adopted her daughter from Kenya. She said she and her family tried to celebrate Kwanzaa with her daughter but found that many people did not celebrate the holiday.

"I think it comes at a time of year, where there is so much else going on, so maybe there's a lot of competition for everyone's attention," Schust said. 

The seven principles of Kwanzaa are:

  • Umoja: Unity
  • Kujichagulia: Self Determination
  • Ujima: Collective Work and Responsibility
  • Ujamaa: Cooperative Economics
  • Nia: Purpose
  • Kuumba: Creativity
  • Imani: Faith