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Kwanzaa - Celebrate Family And Culture

Kwanzaa is a very special holiday. African Americans celebrate the holiday between Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Years, December 26 - January first.

The celebration is one of a kind, and for seven nights family members gather around the main meeting place, the table.

The history behind this special holiday begins with its founder, Ron “Maulana” Karenga, back in 1967. I love the meaning behind each of the seven days, as it stems from the fruits of an old African tribe.

Today, families gather during this time and decorate their homes with the traditional colors, black, red, and green. The children are very much involved in the entire holiday.

Emphasis is put on family values. Unity, self-determination, responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith create the atmosphere for reflection during this time. Gifts are given, but very simple in nature. Adults encourage their children to make home made gifts.

These two pictures share with you what the Kinara or candleholder looks like. One black candle in the middle, with three green and three red candles on either side.

Each night a candle is lit by a family member. The children are involved also in lighting candles. This is a great hands on learning and educational event for children.

Adults also will let the children decorate around the home along with table accessories. Black, red, or green construction paper can be used for the children to create their own placemats. An idea for you is to laminate them so the children can keep them.

There are many different items you can use to create a festive mood in your home.

You can get a Dwarf shrub for Kwanzaa, and decorate with red garland, and black, red, and green ornaments. You can also use a miniature Christmas tree.

Have the children get involved and decorate streamers in the three colors.

I love that fact the African American families take to heart their past and also decorate at this time of year with meaningful photos, African baskets, pictures of harvest fruit, and sculptures.

The second picture above shows you some colors in the original dress that was worn. Today some men, women, and children will dress in the original garb to show how proud they are of their heritage.

Another special meaning is if a household doesn't have any children. A saying that is used is, "It takes a village to raise a child." To symbolize this, a small basket is placed on the table with one ear of corn.

Although Kwanzaa is celebrated mostly in the United States, other African Americans are beginning to see the importance of this special celebration and history. This is a great holiday to decorate your interior.

Create an atmosphere using the black, red, and green. African bowls with the holiday fruit on the table enhances the meaning of the seven days. Feel free to check out other holiday decorating ideas.

Christmas and Hanukkah are very special holidays. This holiday celebrated by African Americans adds another dimension to the uniqueness of different cultures.

I remember when I was working with a teacher in the 4th grade in Rochester, New York years ago. The children got to learn about all three of these holidays. They not only gained knowledge of the history, but also the food and decorating ideas of the tradition of each holiday.


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