Kwanzaa: A celebration of family & culture

Carrie Tankard, M.V. NAACP organizer, in front of the symbols of Kwanzaa. — Photo by Susan Safford

Kwanzaa, a holiday in its 46th year, has been celebrated on the Vineyard for 8 years. It’s a non-religious holiday celebrating the coming together of people, family, and culture. The seven-day holiday begins on December 26, and ends on New Year’s day.

This is their first year at the Baptist Parish Hall in Vineyard Haven, where the long serving table was laden with delicious home-cooked foods: sliced turkey, fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, collard greans, salad, corn bread, meatballs, and a Kwanzaa sheet cake for dessert, and each table decorated with games and coloring supplies for the children.

Corinne Dorsey led the ceremony by telling the gathering a bit of the history of Kwanzaa, then asked seven people to light a Kinara candle, each representing one of the seven principles of Kwanzaa: Catherine Rhodes for Unity, Joyce Stiles for Self-Determination, Vera Shorter for Collective Work and Responsibility, Liza Coogan for Cooperative Economics, Natalie Dickerson for Purpose, Colleen Morris for Creativity, and Ken Gross for Faith.

Barbara Linton followed by reading her African-based story of “Asabi and the Toad.” The evening ended with a raffle.