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How to Celebrate Kwanzaa

(FeatureSource) - In Swahili, "kwanzaa" means "first fruits of the harvest." Since 1966, Kwanzaa has been a time to honor and celebrate African-American culture and history.

From December 26 to January 1, the seven days of Kwanzaa pay tribute to ancestors and the seven principles of unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith. Here are some ideas for your Kwanzaa gathering from Patty Sachs' book, "Pick a Party" (Meadowbrook Press).

  • Make invitations and decorations out of black, green, and red paper, perhaps woven into an African mat called a "mkeka." Trim with black, green, and red ribbons.
  • Decorate with African artifacts, photographs, artwork, or travel posters. Place black baskets with green and red fruits and vegetables around your home. Kinaras are holders for the black, green, and red candles that are lit each night of Kwanzaa.
  • Play traditional music, learn traditional dances, and tell stories that highlight the accomplishments of African-Americans.
  • Make mkeka mats, baskets, and kinara candleholders. Kinaras can be made painting designs on a jar or can.
  • Honor your ancestors by making an audio or videotape of your life and experiences, or writing a small book. These can become cherished keepsakes that can be handed down for generations.
  • Celebrate the harvest with a feast, or "karamua," of fresh fruits and vegetables. Share juice from a unity cup.
"Pick a Party" includes 160 party themes to help readers turn holidays, birthdays, showers, and evenings with friends or family into special occasions. It can be found in bookstores everywhere.



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