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7 Principles of Kwanzaa and How to Celebrate the Holiday

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!
What is Kwanzaa IG

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 

Decorations

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

Colors

     Black – Represents black people 

     Red –  Represents the struggle 

     Green –  Represents hope for the future 

Set Up

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

Giving Zawadi

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 

Final Thoughts

Kwanzaa is not about a religion. It is tied to the African Diaspora! Happy Kwazaa

7 Priniciples of Kwanzaa IG

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.

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