Lighting the Kwanzaa candles in Ogden

On Wednesday evening, around three dozen people gathered at the Second Baptist Church on the edge of downtown Ogden for the Community Kwanzaa Celebration.

At Ogden’s 13th annual celebration, storytellers spun tales, young kids made crafts and a group of teen musicians performed. Everyone at the church that night shared in dinner, history and the lighting of traditional candles.

The holiday of Kwanzaa was founded in the 1960s as a way to celebrate African and African American culture, community and family. Over the past 50 years, Kwanzaa’s popularity has fluctuated, but Betty Sawyer - who organized Ogden’s celebration - says there has been a growth in interest in recent years.

“People are looking for something foundational, less commercial,” said Sawyer, who also views the growth as being tied to a new struggle for civil rights.

Kwanzaa is celebrated over seven days at the tail end of December. Each day is devoted to a specific principle: unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.