Kwanzaa


Kwanzaa means (First Fruit of the harvest) in Kiswahili. Kwanzaa is celebrated by African-Americans in form of holidays. Also called as an African-American celebration. It last for one week (seven days), staring from 26th December till January 1st(New year day).

The seven days of Kwanzaa which are said to be the Seven Principles of Kwanzaa are:


  • Umoja (Unity)
  • Kujichagulia (Self-determination)
  • Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility)
  • Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics)
  • Nia (Purpose)
  • Kuumba (Creativity)
  • Imani (Faith)

It involves celebrations of African-American heritage, culture, and history by spreading happiness all around and constructing strong bonding between the families and the communities.

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Kwanzaa History:

It was started in 1966 by Doctor Maulana Karenga, professor at the California state university, longbeach, California.

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Kavanzaa Colors:

There are three dominant colors of Kwanzaa, which are similar to the colors of Christmas, as Kwanzaa is celebrated around the Christmas time. The three colors of Kwanzaa are:

  • Black: for the face of our people
  • Red: for the blood are people shed
  • Green: for the hope and color of the motherland.

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Kwanzaa Items:

Some items which make Kwanzaa a special occasion are:
  • Mazao: fruits and vegetables, which stand for the family's and the community's effort at unification and the rewards for the work we do.
  • Mkeka:a straw mat, which represents our reverence for tradition (a prayer mat). Mat symbolizing the foundation of real knowledge.
  • Vibunzi: an ear of corn. There should be one for each child member of the family. Also called Muhindi.
  • Zawadi: gifts, preferably educational or African influenced gifts. Gifts preferred are generally hand made rather then readymade from markets. During Kwanzaa, children are usually receive gifts.
  • Kikombe cha umoja: a communal cup for libation. While most libations are done with an alcoholic beverage, this is made with fruit juice.
  • Kinara: a seven-branched candleholder. This candleholder symbolizes Africa and her people.
  • Mishumaa saba: The seven candles of the Kinara These candles symbolize the principles of the Nguzo Saba or seven principles of Kwanzaa - values to build a new people and a new world. There are three red candles and green candles and one black candle. The black candle is placed in the center of the kinara with the red on left and the green on right.)
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      Kwanzaa Karamu:

      December 31st is the night of the feast called Kwanzaa Karamu. Karamu is a communal effort, which encourages the cultural aspects and ceremonies. Karamu Decorations involve decorating the place where Karamu would take place with the Kwanzaa colors black, red and green to create an ambience. A program is presented during the celebration of Kwanzaa Karamu. The program traditionally involves:

      • Kukaribisha (Welcoming)
      • Kuumba (Remembering)
      • Kuchunguza Tena Na Kutoa Ahadi Tena (Reassessment and Recommitment) Kushangilla (Rejoicing)
      • Tamshi la Tambiko (Libation Statement)
      • Tamshi la Tutaonana (The Farewell Statement)

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