The holiday tree in downtown Evanston’s Fountain Square will have company soon as ceremonies marking other holiday traditions take place over the next few days.

The Fleetwood-Jourdain Middle School Council will lead a community celebration of Kwanzaa at the square at 4:15 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 26.

The program will include an explanation of the seven principles of Kwanzaa, performance of a Kwanzaa poem and lighting of the Kwanzaa lights by Evanston children.

Kwanzaa, an African-American holiday tradition, celebrates the seven core principles of unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith. This year’s Fountain Square program will focus on “purpose.”

Evanston Mayor Lorraine Morton and Rabbi Dov Hillel Klein will light the city’s Menorah in Fountain Square at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Dec 28 in celebration of the eight-day festival of Hanukkah.

There will be greetings from city officials and community members, a boys’ choir, music and refreshments. The event is sponsored by Tannenbaum Chabad, House, a Jewish center on the Northwestern Campus.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Why stop at Kwanzaa?
    In this wonderful world of political correctness, and more specifically, in the epi-center of diversity we call Evanston, why are there not ‘cultural celebrations’ for all? This should include full displays in fountain square with equal participation and enthusiasm by city officials. If we are going ethnic and not religious, let’s go all the way folks. It seems as though within the last several decades openly celebrating Christmas and Hanukka has not been acceptable to the point where we must now say ‘Happy Holidays’ in fear that we may offend someone. Now we have Kwanzaa!? I’m offended. Clearly this was in response to great pressure to be ‘inclusive,’as to not offend. Kwanzaa,the cultural celebration, is steeped in history dating all the way back to 1966! A teacher by the name of Karenga created the holiday largely in response to the riots in Watts, California. As a minority of a different race I think I would like to see more diversity. How about a display for our large Asian population? Perhaps something this fall to clebrate the mid-autum festival or moon festival. I understand this festival only dates back 3,000 years or so, but I sure would like it included. Or maybe a great display in the square for the festival of Día de los Muertos(Day of the dead) on November 1st? This could include a large statue of Mictecacihuatl (Queen of the afterlife.)Now that would be diverse!

    1. Re: Why stop at Kwanzaa?
      I believe everyone already has an equal opportunity to post whatever they like at the fountain square, for a fee? (I could be wrong, Evanston might not be the same as everywhere else I’ve read about?) Athiests in several other communities have already paid the fee and posted their own display. (See Elgin for one.)

      If you’d like to post a display for the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, (or any other holiday or tradition), I’m sure they’ll happily take your money and let you, but the person posting it is likely responsible for the cost of the display and the fee associated with displaying it.

      The National Museum of Mexican Art has an excellent Dia de los Muertos exhibit, by the way.

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