SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP.com) – A joyous gathering Friday as Springfield’s African American community celebrates Kwanzaa, the cultural week long holiday.
Wearing colorful African clothing to the celebration at the UMass Center in downtown Springfield, several generations saluted their African culture with its family values.
Mabel Sharif of Springfield told 22News, “Kwanzaa means, to me, bringing black people together, especially African Americans, to celebrate their history, celebrate our lives, to work together.”
This was the tenth annual citywide Kwanzaa cultural celebration in Springfield.
Retired State Representative Ben Swan was there for the first Kwanzaa observance back in the 1970s.
“We started the first time at the Martin Luther King Center and we moved to the Rebecca Johnson Center,” said Swan.
Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno told 22News, “It’s about family, it shows the virtues of family, culture and heritage and tradition and being proud. It doesn’t matter what skin cover you have all those virtues are very, very good.”
Kwanzaa is not a religious holiday, but it’s seven principals to live by help reinforce believes in family and community that began centuries ago in Africa.
African Americans will continue to observe Kwanzaa through the first of the year.