So tell me if this sounds like you. You havem gotten closer to you African heritage and started to embrace and admire your blackness. You learned about and want to celebrate Kwanzaa, but you do not know exactly what to do.
First, What is Kwanzaa?
If you already know this, feel free to scroll down to “Celebration Ideas” to get straight to the good stuff!
Kwanzaa is a celebration that is tied to blackness and all those is the African Diaspora. It’s about learning about and celebrating black culture, black business, and black community/unity. It is not a religious holiday and can be celbrated alongside other holidays
Second, What Are the 7 Principles of Kwanzaa?
1. Umoja (oo-Moh-Jah) - Unity
to strive for and to maintain unity in our families, community, nation and race
2. Kujichagulia (koo-Ji-cha-goo-li-uh)- Self-Determination
To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves.
3. Ujima (oo-ji-mah) - Collective Work and Responsibility
To build and maintain our community together and make our brothers’ and sisters’ problems our problems, and to solve them together.
4. Ujamaa (oo-Jah-mah) - Cooperative Economics
To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.
5. Nia (Nee-uh) - Purpose
To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
6. Kuumba (Koo-oom-buh) - Creativity
To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.
7. Imani (ee-mon-ee) - Faith
To believe with all our hearts in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.
Third, How Do We Celebrate Kwanzaa?
This 100% depends on what you and your family and/or community want to do. However there ate mayjor traditions
Kwanzaa is decorated with a few symbols.
Mkeka (em-Keh-kuh)- A straw mat, It symbolizes setting a strong foundation of our history and traditions.
Kinara (Kee-NAR-uh)- A candle holder that holds the 7 candles
Mishumaa Saba (mee-shoo-MAH-ah SAH-ba)– The 7 candles. Each candle represents a principle of Kwanza
Mazao (mah-ZAH-oh)- Fresh Crops, which Represents African Harvest, which is our reqard for cooperative labor
Muhindi (moo-HEEN-dee) – Heads of Corn. 1 for each child and an extra to represent the children in the community
Kikome cha Umoja (Kee-Com-bay Chah oo-Moh-jah) – – Unity cup. This represents black unity
Bendera (Ben-Day-rah) – African Flag of red, black and green
Nguzo Saba (en-GU-zo SAH-bah) r– 7 Principles. These are printed on a poster and displayed in the house
Zawadi (zah-WAH-dee), – Gifts which represent making and keeping committments
Black – Represents black people
Red – Represents the struggle
Green – Represents hope for the future
The mkekah (straw kwanzaa mat) goes on a table and the Kinara (candle holder) with the Mishumaa Saba (7 Candles), and Kikome Cha Umoja (Unity Cup) gets placed on top of it
The Mazao (fresh crops) and Muhindi (ears of corn) for each child are placed out, wherever you may like them.
Posted on the wall are Bendera (African Flags) made by children and/or bought and Nguzo Saba (The 7 Principles)
Other decorations are set up to your liking
Lighting the Mishumba Saba (7 Candles) on the Kinara
Each day, we light a Mishumaa (candle). We start with the black candle (in the middle), then we have a choice to light the mishumaa saba (7 candles from left to right or alternate betweeen one red and one green.
Studying the Principles
This is a very easy task, study the Nguzo Sava *(7 Principles). Practicw saying them, and their meaning
Zawadi is Kwanzaa gifts. They must be gifts of Kuumba (Creativity) or gifts that are educational, or meant to improve someone’s life or business. You cannot just give a $200 gift card. It must be something thoughtful and directly tied to their betterment. It could also be something creative, that you have personally made. Some people only give Zawadi to kids, but you can give Zawadi to anyone you’d like
Greeting Others and Answering Greetings
During Kwanzaa we greet people with “Habari Gani” It means “what’s the news?” The answer correspondence to the principle of the day. If it is the 3rd day of Kwanzaa, the response will be “Ujima”
Activities of Your Choice
You can have fun and create your own traditions that correspond.to the Nguco Saba (7 principles). You definitely get creative and do what you would like to do
Kwanzaa is not about a religion. It is tied to the African Diaspora! Happy Kwazaa
About the Author
Mish (Pronounced Meesh) Truth has always been a natural social justice advocate. She now holds BA in Psychology and will hold an MSW by May 2021. She is currently a goal coach, a tutor, and a writer.
She is is passionate about social justice issues and overall mental wellness. This includes knowledge on how to develop healthy relationships, and awareness mental and medical illnesses, and social justice issues.
Growing up in an urban, low income, community, she learned a lot before her time. She credits her success to her self awareness and desire for personal growth.
Her goal is to change the world by affecting at least one person, educating them, inspiring them, and then empowering them to go out and affect more change.
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