Throughout history, many African people have celebrated a "first fruits" harvest holiday. Families got together evaluating their lives,
show respect to their ancestors, giving thanks for their blessings, and planning for the coming year. Dr. Maulana Karenga started the
new African-American holiday that was named Kwanzaa in 1966. It is now celebrated for seven days beginning on December 26 and ending on
January 1. The holiday is intended to help preserve African values and traditions. This holiday is centered around lighting candles.
The candleholder, called a kinara, holds 3 red candles, one black candle and 3 green candles. One candle is lit every night to represent
a different Kwanzaa principle.
The traditional colors of Kwanzaa are black, red, and green. Black stands for the color of the African-Americans. Red stands for the
struggles of the people and green represents the hills of Africa and also the color of hope.
I would like to thank Angel for sending me some of the information in the creation of this page! If anyone has any other ideas,
please contact me!
(The Seven Principles)
To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race.
To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves and speak for ourselves.
||Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility)
To build and maintain our community together and make our brother's and sister's problems our problems and to solve them together.
||Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics)
To build and maintain our own stores, shops and other businesses and to profit from them together.
To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
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.
To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.
THE SYMBOLS OF KWANZAA
Kwanzaa has seven basic symbols and two supplemental ones. Each represents values and concepts reflective of African culture and contributive to community building and reinforcement. The basic symbols in Swahili and then in English are:
Mazao (The Crops)
These are symbolic of African harvest celebrations and of the rewards of productive and collective labor.
Mkeka (The Mat)
This is symbolic of our tradition and history and therefore, the foundation on which we build.
Kinara (The Candle Holder)
This is symbolic of our roots, our parent people -- continental Africans.
Muhindi (The Corn)
This is symbolic of our children and our future which they embody.
Mishumaa Saba (The Seven Candles)
These are symbolic of the Nguzo Saba, the Seven Principles, the matrix and minimum set of values which African people are urged to live by in order to rescue and reconstruct their lives in their own image and according to their own needs.
Kikombe cha Umoja (The Unity Cup)
This is symbolic of the foundational principle and practice of unity which makes all else possible.
Zawadi (The Gifts)
These are symbolic of the labor and love of parents and the commitments made and kept by the children.
SONGS, POEMS AND FINGERPLAYS
I need some Kwanzaa songs, poems and fingerplays! Please send me some! Use my contact page. Thanks!
ARTS AND CRAFTS
- Color Recognition-
Color the Kwanzaa Candles!
- Mkeka (The Mat)
A mat made out of the colors of Kwanzaa will make a nice colorful display.
Parental supervision is recommended.
What You Need
How To Make It
- Red ribbon or construction paper (1/4" wide)
- Green ribbon or construction paper (1/4" wide)
- Black ribbon or construction paper (1/4" wide)
- Additional construction paper
- Markers or crayons
- Determine the size of mat you wish to make.
- Cut the ribbons or construction paper in each of the colors to the correct length.
- Place half of the ribbons or construction paper on a separate sheet of construction paper and glue down the very end of the strips in a row with about 1\4 inch between each one.
- Let dry about 5 minutes
- Weave the other half of the ribbons or construction paper across the glued down ribbons or construction paper.
- Over one strip and under the next alternate strips under and over.
- Glue down end of newly placed strips
- Let dry
- Decorate map as desired
- Display with your Kwanzaa keepsakes
- Black-Eyed Peas and Rice
1 (16 oz.) pkg. dried black-eyed peas
1/2 lb. salt pork
3 cups chopped onions
1 bunch chopped green onions
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 cup chopped green pepper
1 clove garlic, pressed
1 to 1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. red pepper
1 tsp. black pepper
1 dash hot sauce
1 tblsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
1/4 tsp. dried whole oregano
1/4 tsp. dried whole thyme
2 lbs. smoked sausage, cut into bite-size pieces
hot cooked rice
Sort and wash peas; place in a Dutch oven. Cover with water and soak overnight. Drain peas. Add pork to peas; cover with water.
Cover and cook over low heat 45 minutes. Add next 13 ingredients; cover and cook over low heat 45 min. til 1 hour, stirring
occasionally. Add sausage; cook, uncovered, over low heat 45 minutes. Serve over rice. Yield: 10 servings.
- Corn Bread
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 can creamed corn
2 (8 1/2 oz.) Jiffy Corn Bread
1 tsp. salt
Combine ingredients and bake in greased 9 x 12 pan for 35 minutes at 350 degrees.
- Sweet Potato Pudding
2 cups raw sweet potatoes, grated
1 cup milk
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten slightly
2 T. melted butter
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
Grate potatoes into the milk to prevent them from turning dark. Add other ingredients in order given. Pour into well-greased casserole dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Serve warm.
SONGS & POEMS
I have had so many requests for Kwanzaa songs and poems...Angel has come in and saved the day! The foloowing are songs she has sent me.
Thanks so much, Angel!
Here is a song that is sung often...
It can be song fast or slow
Sisi watu, weusi watu wazuri
Pamoja tutashinda (repeat)
then it is song in English
We are black, beautiful people
Together we will win (repeat 3X)
There is no music to the song but people often clap when they sing the fast version.
Another is a Name Game song
You stand in a circle and clap and sing while you go around saying everyone's name
(blank) and (blank)
love African people
(blank) and (blank)
love African people
(blank) and (blank)
love African people
We are all one (song after the round)
Repeat for the entire room. If the number of people is small you can do first, middle, nicknames etc. Just to keep it going and have more fun.
Lastly another game song. This helps build self esteem and bonding. Each person is asked to sing what they feel good about and every responds real good. Clap to keep the beat.
I feel good about my (blank,) REAL GOOD (repeat 3X)
then it is the next persons turn. After everyone has gone everyone repeats together three times:
I FEEL GOOD ABOUT MYSELF. . . REAL GOOD!
usually one word i.e. hair, smile, work, family, friends,
with all these songs you family or group can make up their own rhythm. These are just guidelines.
- Seven Days of Kwanzaa: a Holiday Step Book by Ella Grier
- My First Kwanzaa Book by Debbi Chocolate
- K is for Kwanzaa by Juwanda Ford
- The Children's Books of Kwanzaa by Delores Johnson
- The Gifts of Kwanzaa by Synthia Saint James
- Learning About Kwanzaa by Sylvia Walker
- Kwanzaa Kids by Joan Holub
- A Kwanzaa Celebration Pop-Up Book by Nancy Williams
- A Very Special Kwanzaa by Debbi Chocolate
- Kwanzaa Fun: Great Things to Make and Do by Linda Robertson
- Seven Candles for Kwanzaa by Andrea David Pinkney
- Imani's Gift at Kwanzaa by Denise Burden-Patmon
- It's Kwanzaa Time by Linda Goss
- The Complete Kwanzaa: Celebrating Our Cultural Harvest by Dorothy Riley
- How to Plan a Kwanzaa Celebration by Ida Gamble-Gumbs
- Kwanzaa Crafts: Gifts and Decorations for a Meaningful & Festive Celebration by Marcia McNair
- A Kwanzaa Keepsake: Celebrating the Holiday with New Traditions and Feasts by Jessica Harris
KWANZAA COLORING SHEETS
OTHER WINTER UNITS AND RESOURCES AT ALPHABET SOUP
- New Year's Day
- Winter Wonders
- Valentine's Day
- Presidents' Day
- Martin Luther King Jr.'s Birthday
- Winter Special Papers
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