Kwanzaa begins

Happy Kwanzaa! 

Kwanzaa begins MondayDecember 26, 2011, and ends Sunday,January 1, 2012.

The word "Kwanzaa" comes from the Swahili language and means "first fruits".

The African-American holiday was first established in 1966 and mainly celebrated in the United States.

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.


An insightful blog on Kwanzaa.Best wishes for your future posts. Asante sana.

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