Kwanzaa celebrates African American heritage, pride and community.
Hundreds gathered at The Rebecca Johnson School in Springfield to celebrate the holiday Saturday afternoon.
The word Kwanzaa is derived from the Swahili phrase meaning first fruits.The holiday was started in 1966 and is celebrated by more than 20 million people worldwide.
“Having this holiday set aside specifically for people of African decent is extremely important to give a sense of heritage to give a sense of community and collectivism,” Saibo Ndelovu of The Association of Black Business Professionals told 22News.
“Kwanza is just a combination of all the stuff we culturally created for ourselves and a way to celebrate us as African Americans and people” Marketplace vendor Anita Grodger said.
Dozens of vendors took part in a marketplace to re-create a historic time period in African American history, Black Wall Street.
Black Wall Street represented some of the most prominent concentrations of African-American businesses in Tulsa, Oklahoma during the early 20th century.
Ndelovu said it’s an experience both fun and educational, “That’s what we’re really trying to do with these classes, instill a sense of pride on our culture, pride in our community and pride in our heritage.”
Saturday’s event also featured a special Kwanza party as well as business workshops for young teens.