Springfield holding citywide Kwanzaa celebration

Kwanzaa began Monday

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Springfield’s African-American community is celebrating the cultural observance of Kwanzaa. Hundreds of people attended the Kwanzaa celebration held at the UMass Center in Tower Square on Friday.

This is the first year that Mary Rucks became deeply involved in this cultural holiday. “It’s about the black community embracing who they are,” she said, “coming together and celebrating.”

Springfield artist Susan Duncan told 22News that the paintings she brought to the celebration echo the spirit of this holiday by focusing on the heritage of African Americans. “One of the principals of Kwanzaa deals with art and music and life as well as the principles of success which tie into my own small business.”

Kwanzaa’s founder, Dr. Maulana Karenga, said its central message and meaning is rooted in raising people up and sowing the seeds of goodness. Young people pursuing their futures by following the lesson passed down for generations from African traditions.

10-year-old Jackson Mariah, a fifth grader at Sabis International Charter School, runs her own business called Jackson’s Jars. “It’s a company I made myself,” she said. “I have hot chocolate in a jar, bath salts in a jar and scented candles.”

The week-long Kwanzaa celebration concludes on Saturday.