Holiday lights show at Minnesota State Fairgrounds marks start of Kwanzaa

(FOX 9)

The holiday season continued Saturday night with the beginning of Kwanzaa.

On the first night of this week-long holiday, a lights festival at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds is celebrating the holiday -- while raising more than just awareness.

Saturday, the Glow Holiday Lights Festival put up different signs honoring and celebrating the holiday of Kwanzaa. The grounds have even changed some of their 1 million lights to the colors of red, green, and black -- the traditional colors of Kwanzaa.

They welcome around 1,200 cars per night and said they wanted to celebrate Kwanzaa because they want to honor all holidays that Minnesotans celebrate.

"We want to celebrate all of the winter holidays including Kwanzaa and Hanukah and everything else, and we just thought it would be fun to incorporate it," explained Glow Holiday Festival co-owner Adam Chesin. "Being that today is Kwanzaa, we wanted to have something special for the people that celebrate"

In 1966, during the civil rights movement, a professor of African studies came up with the idea for Kwanza as a way for African Americans to pay tribute to their African roots.

Kwanzaa is named after a Swahili phrase that describes the first fruits gathered during the harvest season. The seven candles represent the seven core figures of African heritage:

  • Unity
  • Self-determination
  • Collective work and responsibility
  • Helping one another through supporting businesses
  • Purpose
  • Creativity
  • Faith

$2 from every ticket sale on Saturday will go to the nonprofit African Economic Development Solutions. The Glow Holiday Light Festival goes until January 3.