At it’s heart, Kwanzaa is about unity, family, and community. It’s celebrated by African Americans and meant to highlight the rich culture and traditions within the global African diaspora.
The message is one of support and personal growth, especially as you move into the New Year. This may be your first Kwanzaa and you’re wanting to celebrate and start traditions. Or you may have celebrated before and want new ideas to make the holiday special. Use this guide to have a meaningful and memorable Kwanza.
What is Kwanzaa?
Celebrated from December 26 to January 1 annually, Kwanzaa is an opportunity for families to spend time together and celebrate the culture. The Seven Principles of Kwanzaa are import to learn and each day of the holiday features a one of the principles. In order, they are:
- Umoja (Unity): Maintaining unity in family, community, nation, and race.
- Kujichagulia (Self-Determination): Defining, creating, and speaking for oneself.
- Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility): Build community and solving community problems together.
- Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics): Building and supporting stores and businesses within the community.
- Nia (Purpose): Collectively building, developing, and restoring community.
- Kuumba (Creativity): Creating a beautiful and beneficial community.
- Imani (Faith): Believing in the community and triump over struggle.
Every family has their own traditions and ways of celebrating Kwanzaa. Many volunteer as a family to give back to the African American and Pan-African community. This is especially good for children to get involved in.
Kids also love arts and crafts, which can be Kwanzaa themed around the Seven Principles. Many communities also have celebrations, which is a great way to interact with other celebrating families.
Traditional African and African American foods make up the meals of Kwanzaa. Decorate the table with the Yellow Bliss Co. Heritage Collection, which has plates, chargers, silverware, and more for a beautiful Kwanzaa celebration.
Lighting the Mishumaa Saba
During Kwanzaa, families light the Mishumaa Saba, seven candles that represent The Seven Principles. These are held in the Kinara, a candle holder, which is placed on the Mkeka, a straw mat.
The Kinara holds one black candle in the center and represents Umoja, as well as three red and three green candles. The red candles sit to the left of the Umoja and represent Kujichagulia, Ujamaa, and Kuumba. The green candles on the right represent Ujima, Nia, and Imani.
The first night, the black candle is lit. The following nights, the candles are lit one by one from left to right.
Supporting Black-Owned Businesses
One of the principles of Kwanzaa is community support. Many families choose to give small gifts each of the nights of Kwanzaa. Find gifts from local Black or African-owned businesses to show support for the community.
Have a Joyous Kwanzaa
Celebrating cultural roots, rich history, and tradition are at the center of Kwanzaa. It’s a time to gather with family and be thankful for being together and the blessings in your life. Remembering the strength that has brought you to this point and garnering strength for the future.
Whether this is your first year or you’re a veteran at celebrating, you can make Kwanzaa special. With beautiful Kwanzaa tablescapes and free event planning when you become a member of Yellow Bliss Co., every celebration will be memorable and meaningful.
Yellow Bliss Co. wishes you a Kwanzaa filled with love and light, joy and wisdom, and meaningful happiness.