Kwanzaa is an actual African American Tradition in which we welcome the first harvests into the home. Kwanzaa was created in response to the commercialism of Christmas by Dr. Maulana Karenga and we are making it a tradition in our home going forward so we would like to share our exploration and learning with you!
Habari gani- How are you/How’s the news with you?
This is how we are to greet one another in discussion of each day’s principal in our own words and understanding. We will explain it in a way in which the children can gather their own perspective, whatever that looks like, as well as the adults. After discussing, the corresponding candle will be lit by either the eldest in the family or the youngest(whichever you choose).
Day 4: Ujamaa (oo-jah-ma): Cooperative Economics
On the fourth day of Kwanzaa, the black candle is lit at first, then the utmost left red one, then the farthest right green one and at last the next red candle, placed at the left hand side of the black one, is lit. It represents the 4th principle, i.e. Ujamaa (oo-jah-MAH) or Collective Economics.
The fourth principle is then discussed with the present members. The Unity cup is shared and the candles are turned off.
We will be gathering all of our old clothes and shoes to take to a local charity as well as supporting three black owned businesses.
Day 5: Nia (Nee-yah): Purpose
The black candle, then the left most red candle, then the right most green candle, then the 2nd red candle at the left hand side and lastly the next green candle are lit in the same sequence. This represents the 5th principle i.e. Kwanzaa - Nia (NEE-ah) or Purpose.
Members discuss the fifth principle and share Unity cup. The day ends with extinguishing the candles.
We will grab a canvas sheet, make 3 columns, and label them:
W=Want to Learn
Under the K (Know) column, we will each name one thing we want to learn this year.
For Eli, it might be tying his shoes, counting to 100, etc.
Hang the chart in a central location for the year.
Make opportunities for each family member to work on the item they listed.
Review it at the end of the year.
Day 6: Kuumba (koo-oom-bah): Creativity
On the sixth day during Kwanzaa the black candle is lit, then the utmost left red, the extreme right green, the next red, the subsequent green and then the final red candle. This represents the 6th principle of Kwanzaa i.e. Kuumba (koo-OOM-bah) or Creativity.
The sixth day falls also on New Year’s Eve and is a very special and momentous day for the African Americans. This is the day of Karamu or Kwanzaa feast. The spirit of celebration increases a lot when many of the family members invite their loved ones and friends.
To enhance the celebration mood, decorate the home with traditional Kwanzaa colors. The African American music at the background and traditional attires should match the Kwanzaa theme. Special holiday dishes are included in the celebration. Prepare fabulous and spicy dishes for the guests. Plays are performed, family members read out passage and poems which are related to the seven principles of Kwanzaa. A story teller enjoys the centre stage in the feast. The focus of the day should be on creativity. Try to show innovation and creativity in everything.
Present members remember their own ancestors while the Unity cup is shared. The candles are turned off after everyone enjoys the drink.
Tamshi La Tutaonana (TAM-shi la Tu-ta-u-NA-na) which was written by Dr. Karenga, the inventor of Kwanzaa, is read by the eldest member of those present before the conclusion of the Karamu ceremony. This is a farewell statement for the feast and the year.
Tamshi la Tambiko (Libation Statement)
It is tradition to pour libation in remembrance of the ancestors on all special occasions. Kwanzaa, is such an occasion, as it provides us an opportunity to reflect on our African past and American present. Water is suggested as it holds the essence of life and should be placed in a communal cup and poured in the direction
of the four winds; north, south, east, and west. It should then be passed among family members and guests who may either sip from the cup or make a sipping gesture. LIBATION STATEMENT.
For The Motherland cradle of civilization.
For the ancestors and their indomitable spirit
For the elders from whom we can learn much.
For our youth who represent the promise for tomorrow.
For our people the original people.
For our struggle and in remembrance of those who have struggled on our behalf.
For Umoja the principle of unity which should guide us in all that we do.
For the creator who provides all things great and small.
Each and everyone conclude the Karamu saying "Harambee!" for seven times.
We will complete this ceremony as well as create vision boards for the year!
Day 7: Imani (E-MAH-née): Faith
On the seventh and last day of Kwanzaa, the black candle is lit, then the farthest left red, the utmost right green, the next red candle, the 2nd green candle at the right hand side of the black candle, the final red, then the last and final green candle. This represents the 7th Kwanzaa principle, Imani (ee-MAH-nee) or Faith.
As like any other days of Kwanzaa the principle of the day is discussed, the unity cup is shared and the candles are extinguished. This marks the end of Kwanzaa for the particular year.
As the festival is relatively new one, many families decide to celebrate the occasion in their own ways and pass on the tradition to the next generations as well.
We will end with prayer, meditation, and spiritual baths trusting that all of our heart’s desires.. spiritual mental, physical, and financial, will come to pass this year!
I hope you’ve enjoyed Kwanzaa this year, and if not, you enjoyed reading about it to prepare yourself for next year!!