January 12: Andrea Battle (Club President) on Kwanzaa

posted Jan 29, 2016, 2:16 PM by Amherst Club

President Andrea Battle called the meeting of the Amherst Club to order at noon on Tuesday, January 12th, 2016, and welcomed us all.

Several members are ill or on the mend: Glenn Gordon is home from hospital, but still not fully recovered. The club will send him flowers, and meanwhile a card was passed around for good wishes. The members welcomed Tina Berins who is  back with us after thyroid surgery, and Linda Honan who is back after heart surgery. The members also thanked Ellen Kosmer for all she did for Linda – and her cat - during her illness.

We were sorry to hear that Nancy Brose’s husband fell, and is in hospital.

Andrea reminded the Board that there will be a meeting after lunch.


Saturday, Jan. 16th: The Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast will be held at the Regional Middle School cafeteria. Tickets are available at Hastings.

Raffle:  Surinder Mehta won the wine, and Ellen Kosmer won the $10.


Today’s speaker was our president, Andrea Battle, who introduced us with great enthusiasm and verve to the African-American celebration of Kwanzaa, a winter festival held often in the week between Christmas and New Year’s. Introduced in the 1960s by Dr. Maulana Karenga, professor and chair of Africana Studies at California State University, Long Beach, this festival celebrates and gives thanks for individuals, family and community. This is a non-religious festival, like Thanksgiving, celebrated by people of various faiths. It lasts seven days, and features 7 candles, corn, a libation cup, and other symbols and traditions.  The language base is Swahili, or Kiswahili, a language of trade common in East Africa. Betterment of community is central to this holiday, which gives each participant a unity cup. Gifts are exchanged at the end of the festival.


These are the symbols of this holiday:

Mazao – corn;

Mkeka – woven mat;

Kinara – candle holder;

Muhindi – corn;

Mishumaa Saba – the seven candles;

Kikombe cha Umoja – unity cup;

Zawadi – gifts.

The BBC guide to Swahili pronunciation may be found on Google.


Happy to be back!

Your scribe,         
Linda Honan