Iowa State University

Carlie Tartakov, Education, (515) 294-0669
Steve Sullivan, News Service, (515) 294-3720


AMES, Iowa -- Kwanzaa, an traditional African American celebration with family and friends, will be at Iowa State University on Saturday, Dec. 30.

The celebration will begin in the Gallery of the Memorial Union from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and feature cultural entertainment, including drumming, dancing, poetry and storytelling. The principles of Kwanzaa also will be discussed.

Kwanzaa began in the United States in 1966 and is patterned after an eastern African harvest festival, said Carlie Tartakov, an instructor in curriculum and instruction and Kwanzaa organizer.

"Kwanzaa is a festival of renewal. African Americans come together with families and friends to talk about the successes of the past year, celebrate their survival and give thanks to their children and ancestors," said Tartakov.

Kwanzaa is traditionally a week-long event beginning on Dec.. 26 and continuing through Jan. 1. On each day of Kwanzaa, a candle is lit and one of the seven principles of the holiday is recited in Swahili. The principles are unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.

Anyone is welcome to attend the Kwanzaa at ISU, though organizers ask that people contact them if they plan to attend. Organizers are Tartakov, (515) 294-0669, and Karen Donaldson, assistant professor of curriculum and instruction, (515) 294-7925. The event also is supported by the College of Education, the ISU Office of Minority Student Affairs and the ISU African American Studies Program.