Sunny Mindel / Lynn Rasic (212) 788-2958
Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani today hosted a candlelighting ceremony at the Surrogate's Courthouse in Lower Manhattan in preparation for the upcoming Kwanzaa holiday. Ceremony attendees included Deputy Mayor Rudy Washington; Richard Green, Crown Heights Youth Collective, Inc Chief Executive; Michael Handy, Director of the Mayor's Office for Veteran's Affairs; and the New York Boys Choir led by the Reverend Dr. Greg McCants.
Kwanzaa, which means "first fruits of the harvest" in the African language of Kaswahili, is celebrated from December 26th through January 1st. Originated in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga, professor of African-American History at California State University, the celebration of Kwanzaa pays tribute to the rich cultural roots of Americans of African ancestry. It begins with the lighting of the Kinara, a candle holder which holds seven candles - three green, three red and one black representing the seven principles of Kwanzaa: unity, self determination, work/responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.
"Throughout New York City, the holiday season is celebrated in many different ways - but the message of faith and love and respect for one another is consistent in every holiday tradition," the Mayor said. "The seven principles of Kwanzaa mirror the founding principles that built our City and keep it strong. The first candle we light tonight symbolizes the principle of 'unity.' It is a reminder that we share a common desire to create a compassionate City of opportunity for ourselves and for our children. During the holidays, this is an especially wonderful thing to hope for and to resolve to work toward in the coming year."
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