Kwanzaa is an African-American holiday celebration that is held for one week, from December 26th to January 1st. During Kwanzaa, participants celebrate for seven days with activities like candle lighting, libation pouring, feasts and gift giving. Kwanzaa was founded by Ron “Maulana” Karenga, and first celebrated in 1967. Kwanzaa is based on the African “first fruits” celebrations practiced by certain African tribes. Each of the seven days of Kwanzaa stands for a different value, as follows: unity, self-determination, responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith. Families come together during this holiday to celebrate their heritage and honor their values.
Decorate in Kwanzaa Colors
When decorating your home for the Kwanzaa holiday, remember the traditional colors of red, green and black. You can use a miniature Christmas tree to make a Kwanzaa bush. Decorate your Kwanzaa bush with red, green and black ornaments. If you’ve got children, give them construction paper, tape, and safety scissors and let them create their own Kwanzaa bush decorations, like strings of connected paper loops in red, green and black which can be draped around the tree like garland.
Kwanzaa Table Decorations
On your table, create a beautiful and traditional centerpiece. Start with a straw mat, or mkeka, in the center. Place the kinara, or candleholder, on top. In the candleholder you will place the mishumaa saba, which is a candle with seven flames. On either side of the candleholder, arrange ears of corn. One nice idea is to have one ear of corn for each of your children. Around this centerpiece place a unity cup, basket of fruit, and Kwanzaa gifts.
For the rest of your home, try decorations in red, green and black. Hang or drape the the Bendera Ya Taifa flag behind your centerpiece, always facing east. For the rest of your home, try balloons in streamers in the holiday colors. African art is always a great way to decorate your home for Kwanzaa as well. Tribal masks hung on the wall are a striking choice. Or, why not choose some beautiful pieces of sculpture?
Decorating for Kwanzaa can be fun and meaningful for the whole family. Encourage children to make their own decorations. One fun project is letting them make placemats from red, green and black construction paper, then having the placemats laminated.
Kwanzaa is a special time of year, and your home should reflect that! Decorating for Kwanzaa can be a fun and creative way to experience the beauty and heritage of the season.