Kwanzaa is a popular African American holiday that is celebrated immediately following Christmas. If you bought and wrapped toys for Christmas, decorated a tree, ate Christmas dinner, or participated at all, in any of the rituals of the dominate society’s Christmas, then it would behoove you to join in learning the customs and practices of Kwanzaa! Here are some ways you can do just that this year!
*side bar: DO NOT RESEARCH THE FOUNDER OF KWANZAA ( spoiler alert: he’s trash. Great holiday, not so great man)
*Read the principles daily
* Umoja: Unity
* Kujichagulia: Self-Determination
* Ujima: Collective Work and Responsibility
* Ujamaa: Cooperative Economics
* Nia: Purpose
* Kuumba: Creativity
* Imani: Faith
*Have children draw and color the kinara if you don’t have one to light.
*Read and participate with the 7 symbols
1. Mazao: Crops
Mazao symbolizes the fruits of collective planning and work, and the resulting joy, sharing, unity and thanksgiving part of African harvest festivals. To demonstrate mazao, place nuts, fruits, and vegetables, representing work, on the mkeka(mat).
2. Mkeka: Place Mat
Just as the crops stand on the mkeka, the present day stands on the past. The mkeka symbolizes the historical and traditional foundation for people to stand on and build their lives.
3. Muhindi: Ear of Corn
The stalk of corn represents fertility and the idea that through children, the future hopes of the family are brought to life. One vibunzi is placed on the mat for every child in the family.
4. Mishumaa Saba: The Seven Candles
Candles are ceremonial objects that serve to symbolically re-create the sun’s power, as well as to provide light. There are three red candles, three green candles, and one black candle that are placed on the kinara.
5. Kinara: The Candleholder
The kinara represents our ancestry, and the original stalk from which we came.
6. Kikombe Cha Umoja: The Unity Cup
On the sixth day of Kwanzaa, the libation ritual is performed to honor the ancestors. Every family member and guest will take a drink together as a sign of unity and remembrance.
7. Zawadi: Gifts
On the seventh day of Kwanzaa, gifts are given to encourage growth, achievement, and success. Handmade gifts are encouraged to promote self-determination, purpose, and creativity.
*Create handmade gifts for loved ones!!!!
*Find a local celebration in your area for Kwanzaa events!
Even if you find that your life is too busy to celebrate the entire seven days. At least take some time out this year to read about the holiday with your children. Besides MLK day, to some extent, it’s all we have.]]>