WEST ORANGE, NJ -  The West Orange African Heritage Organization  15th Annual Kwanzaa Celebration will be held on Thursday, December 19, 2013, at Washington Elementary School, 289 Main Street, West Orange, New Jersey from  6:30  – 9:00 PM.

Kwanzaa, derived from the Swahili phrase “matunda ya kwanza”, which means “first fruits of the harvest”, is a cultural holiday created in 1966 by Dr. Ron Karenga.  Its purpose is to celebrate and reinforce a Pan African sense of culture and community.  The “Nguzo Saba” or “Seven Principles of Kwanzaa” is celebrated on seven days from December 26th through January 1 with each day representing a separate and unique principle.  The first day of Kwanzaa is Umoja (Unity), with the remaining days being Kujichagulia (Self-Determination), Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity), and Imani (Faith).

This year’s event will feature a presentation of Kwanzaa by Deborah Kirkland, performances by West Orange High School’s all-female step ensemble, The Unique Performance Arts Center, soloist Joscelyn Maldonado, and Irvington High School’s Multi-Pot Dance Company.

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Residents from the community who have performed the Kwanzaa ritual at many venues throughout the metropolitan area will reinforce the Kwanzaa principles and explain the purpose and meaning of the seven basic symbols.  In the spirit of Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), the evening will offer a variety of vendors with exciting products for the mind, body and soul.

Bring your family and friends to enjoy fellowship, food, and culture with the emphasis on   “Building a Strong Community”.   

The event is free of charge, and on site parking is available.

For further information check: www.woaho.org or call  (973) 671-1158.