The Seven Principles of Kwanzaa
1. umoja - to maintain unity in the family and community
2. kujichagulia - self-determination, to be responsible and speak for oneself
3. ujima - collective work and responsibility, to build and maintain a community
4. ujamaa - economic co-operation, to help and profit one another
5. nia - purpose, to build and develop the community for the benefit of the people
6. kuumba - creativity, to do everything possible to leave the community more beautiful and beneficial for future generations
7. imani - faith, to believe in parents, teachers and leaders.
The colours red, green and black, representing the African flag, are used.
A candle is lit each day on the "kimara", to represent each of the seven principles.
The kimara is placed on a traditional straw mat, and one ear of corn is also placed on the mat for each child in the family.
A fruit basket, called a "mazao", is also displayed, along with a special "unity" cup, out of which everyone drinks.
Families decorate their homes with traditional African crafts.
© Diane Chase, author of Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes and High Peaks (Your Four-Season Guide to Over 300 Activities) for the towns of Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Jay/Upper Jay, Wilmington, Keene/Keene Valley which is available online or bookstores/museums/sporting good stores. Diane is currently working on the second guidebook in the four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities.