Kwanzaa Candles Teacher Guide To Kwanzaa

The "First Fruits" of the harvest holiday have been celebrated by the African people for ages now. That is the basics of learning all about Kwanzaa. It is kind of like the Pilgrims Thanksgiving. Families would get together to take a look at their lives, give thanks for everything they had, and plan for the future. They would also look back at their history and celebrate the hero's of their past.

The holiday was begun by Dr. Maulana Karengain 1966. Now it is celebrated for seven days starting on December 26th and going until January 1st. This part of the holiday sort of resembles the Jewish holiday Hanukkah. Kwanzaa is meant to help African Americans remember their traditions and where they came from. To celebrate they use candles. They have a candleholder called a kinara, which holds 3 red candles, one black candle, and 3 green candles. Each night, one of the candles is lit and each candle stands for something different. The colors of the Kwanzaa are black red and green. The black candle is meant to represent the color of the people. The red candle is a representation of the struggles the African Americans went through in throughout history. Green is a color of hope, and also for the colors of the hills of Africa.

There are seven principles behind the idea of Kwanzaa, that of course go along with the seven days and the seven candles. These Principles are called the NGUZO, which means SABA or The Seven Principles. They are;

1. Umojoa, which means unity. This includes unity in the family, the community, the nation and in our race.

2. Kujichagulia, which means self-determination. This is meant to say how we define, name, create or speak for ourselves and how others see us.

3. Ujima which means collective work and responsibility. This means to build our community and help solve the problem's of our brothers and sisters and to do it together.

4. Ujamaa stand for cooperative economics. To build and maintain our own stores, shops and other businesses and to profit from them together.

5. Nia stands for purpose and it means to develop our community and restore our community to its traditional greatness.

6. Kuumba is for creativity. This means to do all that we can in any way that we can to keep and leave our community better than when we first got there.

7. Imani is the seventh and final symbol. It stands for faith. It means to believe with everything that we have in our leaders, our parents, and the goodness of our struggle.

The concept behind Kwanzaa is a beautiful and endearing one. It is meant to draw a community together. It is not a form of separatism, but rather a form of traditionalism in keeping with faith and values belonging to the African Americans.


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