Kwanzaa Basics

Kwanzaa Basics

Daily Greeting – Habari gani means what’s the news or what’s up, in Swahili, the langauge of Kwanzaa. Answer by stating the cooresponding day/principle.

The Nguzo Saba – The Seven Principles

  1. December 26 – Umoja (Unity): To strive for and to maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.  Black candle is lit
  2. December 27 – Kujichagulia (Self-Determination): To define and name ourselves, as well as to create and speak for ourselves. Red candle far left is lit
  3. December 28 – Ujima (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.  Green candle right is lit
  4. December 29 – Ujamaa (Cooperative economics): To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.  Red candle middle left is lit
  5. December 30 – Nia (Purpose): To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.  Green candle middle right is lit
  6. December 31 – Kuumba (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.  Red candle left is lit
  7. January 1 – Imani (Faith): To believe with all our hearts in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.  Green candle right is lit 
  • Kinara (candle holder for seven candlesticks)
  • Mishumaa Saba (seven candles – 1 black, 3 red, 3 green)
  • Mazao (crops)
  • Mahindi (corn), to represent the children celebrating (and corn may be part of the holiday meal)
  • Kikombe cha Umoja (unity cup) for commemorating and giving Shukrani (thanks) to African Ancestors
  • Zawadi (gifts)

According to Wikipedia.org

For a more detailed overview check out the official Kwanzaa website here

Watch The Black Candle, a documentary about Kwanzaa narrated by Maya Angelou

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