Quantcast

Decorating for Kwanzaa - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Decorating for Kwanzaa

Updated:
© iStockphoto.com / Terry White © iStockphoto.com / Terry White


By Michelle Ullman


Maulana Karenga, a prominent African-American professor, author and activist, created Kwanzaa in 1966 as the first specifically African-American holiday. Celebrated from December 26 to January 1 each year, Kwanzaa is a time for African-Americans across the country to take pride in their community, families and history. The holiday is not a religious occasion, but combines features from many harvest festivals traditionally celebrated in Africa.

Each day of Kwanzaa focuses on a different principle. They are:

Unity
Self-determination
Collective work and responsibility
Collective economics
Purpose
Creativity
Faith

Living Room Kwanzaa Decor

In the main room of your home, decorate with Kwanzaa flags, called bendera ya taifa. This is a wonderful craft for your children to make. Simply start with a large sheet of construction paper, and draw straight lines to divide it into three equal, horizontal sections. Have your children use markers, crayons or paint to color the top section red, the middle section black, and the bottom portion green. Hang the bendera on the walls facing east.

DIY Kwanzaa Centerpiece

On your dining room table, mantel or counter, spread a woven straw mat, called a mkeka. This symbolizes the foundation of the African people, and forms the base for your Kwanzaa display. You will set several holiday items on the mkeka.

Set up a Kinara

A kinara is a seven-pronged candleholder, for the seven days of Kwanzaa. You can buy a kinara, or make one out of clay with your children. The kinara holds seven candles, called the mishumaa saba. The three candles on the left are red, to represent struggle, the candle in the middle is black, to represent the African people, and the three candles on the right are green, symbolizing hope. The black candle will be lit on the first night of Kwanzaa, followed by the rest of the candles on the consecutive nights, going from left to right. The kinara sits on the mkeka.

Display Harvest Symbols

On top of the mkeka, lay an ear of corn for each child in the family. If you do not have children, then place two ears of corn to represent the children of the community. You will also display mazao, a basket of fruits, nuts or vegetables to symbolize the family and community working together productively.

Set Out the Unity Cup

The kikombe cha umoja, or unity cup, represents family and community. It is usually a wooden chalice, though if you cannot find one, you can substitute a wineglass. The unity cup plays an integral part in the karamu feast held on the sixth night of Kwanzaa, December 31, when each member of the family will sip wine or grape juice from the cup and recite a blessing.

The Children Get Gifts

Along with the candles, cup and harvest bowl, set small wrapped gifts for your children on the mkeka. These gifts will be opened on the last day of Kwanzaa, and traditionally encourage creativity and education. Art supplies, science kits, books and crafts are all good choices.

Use African Art Throughout the Room

Once you have your mkeka set with the traditional pieces, decorate throughout the rest of the room with African art. Use a variety of items such as:

Flags
Tribal masks
African fabrics
Baskets
Sculptures

Let your children assist by decorating the room with red, green and black streamers, balloons or ribbons. You may not have observed Kwanzaa before, but this tribute to community pride is a wonderful way to bring your family together in a celebration of African-American family, community, history and culture.

 

This article was originally posted on IdealHomeGarden.com

Content provided by:

*DISCLAIMER*: The information contained in or provided through this site section is intended for general consumer understanding and education only and is not intended to be and is not a substitute for professional advice. Use of this site section and any information contained on or provided through this site section is at your own risk and any information contained on or provided through this site section is provided on an "as is" basis without any representations or warranties.
  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Bike racers wrap up weekend events

    Bike racers wrap up weekend events

    Monday, September 1 2014 9:59 PM EDT2014-09-02 01:59:03 GMT
    The Green Mountain Stage Race took to the streets of Burlington Monday.
    The Green Mountain Stage Race took to the streets of Burlington Monday.
  • 2 charged with skid-steer joyride on I-89

    2 charged with skid-steer joyride on I-89

    Monday, September 1 2014 7:52 PM EDT2014-09-01 23:52:13 GMT
    The theft of some construction vehicles caused chaos on the Interstate this weekend.
    The theft of some construction vehicles caused chaos on the Interstate this weekend.
  • Allergy sufferers brave ragweed season

    Allergy sufferers brave ragweed season

    Monday, September 1 2014 7:08 PM EDT2014-09-01 23:08:26 GMT
    If you're sneezing, your nose is running and you're eyes are itchy once again this year -- you're not alone. Fall pollen counts are peaking in our region and proving tough for allergy sufferers looking to enjoy the outdoors.Despite a spate of heat and humidity, the signs of fall are undeniable. Cooler temperatures and color are on the way. And even though many think of spring as "allergy season" due to tree pollens, this time of year can be particularly tough for allergy sufferers, too -- bec...
    If you're sneezing, your nose is running and you're eyes are itchy once again this year -- you're not alone. Fall pollen counts are peaking in our region and proving tough for allergy sufferers looking to enjoy the outdoors.Despite a spate of heat and humidity, the signs of fall are undeniable. Cooler temperatures and color are on the way. And even though many think of spring as "allergy season" due to tree pollens, this time of year can be particularly tough for allergy sufferers, too -- bec...
  • Holiday drivers find lower prices at the pump

    Holiday drivers find lower prices at the pump

    Monday, September 1 2014 6:59 PM EDT2014-09-01 22:59:21 GMT
    Drivers this holiday weekend found lower gas prices at the pump.
    Drivers this holiday weekend found lower gas prices at the pump.
  • Sanders addresses Labor Day rally

    Sanders addresses Labor Day rally

    Monday, September 1 2014 6:51 PM EDT2014-09-01 22:51:52 GMT
    Community members gathered in Burlington's Battery Park Monday to celebrate Labor Day -- and hear from Senator Bernie Sanders.Union leaders addressed the importance of employees supporting one another. They also thanked the community for supporting Vermont's unions. Senator Sanders says the holiday is for working people to not only celebrate their gains, but to also address issues facing the working class."There's a lot of work in front of us if we're going to make sure that our kids and our ...
    Community members gathered in Burlington's Battery Park Monday to celebrate Labor Day -- and hear from Senator Bernie Sanders.Union leaders addressed the importance of employees supporting one another. They also thanked the community for supporting Vermont's unions. Senator Sanders says the holiday is for working people to not only celebrate their gains, but to also address issues facing the working class."There's a lot of work in front of us if we're going to make sure that our kids and our ...
  • Authorities seize animals from Santa's Land

    Authorities seize animals from Santa's Land

    Monday, September 1 2014 4:32 PM EDT2014-09-01 20:32:03 GMT
    The Windham County Sheriffs Department says it seized multiple animals from the theme park this weekend.
    The Windham County Sheriffs Department says it seized multiple animals from the theme park this weekend.
  • Body discovered in Massena

    Body discovered in Massena

    Monday, September 1 2014 4:02 PM EDT2014-09-01 20:02:43 GMT
    New York State Police are investigating an unidentified body found in Massena.
    New York State Police are investigating an unidentified body found in Massena.
  • Community remembers O'Hagan's presence at Sheffield Field Days

    Community remembers O'Hagan's presence at Sheffield Field Days

    Monday, September 1 2014 6:54 PM EDT2014-09-01 22:54:21 GMT

    Sheffield Field Days is a Labor Day tradition -- attended by hundreds. But each year the event reminds the community who is missing.

    Sheffield Field Days is a Labor Day tradition -- attended by hundreds. But each year the event reminds the community who is missing.

Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WCAX. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.