GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Saturday marked the first night of Kwanzaa, a holiday celebrating African American culture.
On Eastern Ave. in Grand Rapids the week-long celebration got kicked off by West Michigan Jewels of Africa, who brought in the holiday by dancing, singing and taking part in rituals to love and honor thyself, their ancestors and their culture.
“It is a cultural celebration of Blackness and the contributions of the African American people to this world,” Organizer Jewellynne “Mama Jewel” Richardson said.
Each night they light a candle on the Kinara, seven candles total that represent the seven principles of the holiday.
The first night honors “Unity” and in 2020 there is no better time to preach the importance of unity in the community.
Something Mama Jewell hopes to continue growing here in West Michigan and Kwanzaa could help in that process.
“Kwanzaa is what you make it so whoever comes out and celebrate that's how we come up with our program, our celebration, our fun and our love. Everyone is invited out, it is not only a Black holiday, it is a Black love holiday to represent us, how we do love and respect,” Richardson said.
For more on what's scheduled for the week-long celebration, click here.