Happy Kwanzaa Meaning 2018 Decorations, Principles, Symbols

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Happy Kwanzaa Meaning 2018 Decorations: Set up by Dr. Maulana Karenga, Kwanzaa is the day celebrated in order to build and reinforce the American and African communities together. The word Kwanzaa means ‘first fruits of a harvest’ or simply the ‘first fruits’. Dr. Karenga was a professor and Chairman of Black Studies at the California State University, Long Beach.

Kwanzaa was created by Dr. Karenga in the year 1966 and is observed from 26th of December to the 1st of January every year since then. So the celebrations go on for seven nights.

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Happy Kwanzaa Meaning Decorations 2018

The word Kwanzaa meaning the ‘first fruits’ is derived from the phrase ‘matunda ya kwanza’. Each African family celebrates Kwanzaa in their own different ways. The celebrations commonly include singing songs, dancing, playing the African drums, story-telling, poetry recitation, and large-size traditional meals.

On every night of the seven nights, the family members gather at the Church or at their home itself. A child from the family lights one of the seven candles placed on the candle holder. After this, the eldest of all the family members discusses any one of the seven principles, Nguzo Saba.

Nguzo Saba are those seven principles in Swahili which describe the values of the African culture that help contribute for building and reinforcing the African-American community. Swahili is an East-African language. On 31st December, the African feast called Karamu is arranged.

Principles of Kwanzaa:

The seven candles in the candle holder symbolize the seven principles of Kwanzaa, Nguzo Saba. Each of the seven nights of Kwanzaa are designated for one of the principles as follows:

  • Umoja-Unity: To effortlessly maintain unity within the family, community, and nation and race as well.
  • Kujichagulia-Self determination: To define, compose and bring ourselves into existence, and to express for ourselves.
  • Ujima-Collective work and responsibility: To build up our hold up our community together and to solve the problems of our people.
  • Ujamaa-Cooperative Economics: To build and maintain our own businesses and share the profits together.
  • Nia-Purpose: To make a particular occupation in order to build and develop our community.
  • Kumba-Creativity: To contribute towards our community as much as we can to keep it delightful always.
  • Imani-Faith: To be trustworthy towards our parents, teachers, leaders and our other people.

The celebratory symbols of Kwanzaa include a mat, a candle holder, seven candles placed in the candle holder, crops, corn, a unity cup for the thanksgiving to African Ancestors and some gifts. The auxiliary symbols consist of an Nguzo Saba poster, the black, red and green colored flag, some African artworks and sacred scripts. The primary symbol for celebration is Corn in order to decorate the house, church or the dining.

Mkeka: Place Mat

The place mat called the Mkeka is made out of cloth and straw that comes from Africa. It symbolizes the history, culture and the traditions of ancient the African Community. It signifies that people should build their own lives as the part is the base of the present.

In the year 1965, a person named James Baldwin said, “History is not something that is to be read. And it even does not refer principally to the past. But, the great force of history comes from the facts that we carry it within us, are consciously controlled by it in many ways, and history is literally present in all that we do.

It could scarcely be otherwise, since it is to history that we owe our frames of reference, our identities, and our aspirations.” During Kwanzaa, the people commemorate the history in order to keep the legacy going.

Vibunzi: Ear of Corn

The corn stem represents fertility and it symbolizes that the future hopes of the family come back to life in the form of reproduction of their children. A single ear of the corn is called vibunzi, whereas more than a couple is known as mihindi. Each ear of the corn denotes a child in a family, and hence one ear is seen placed on the mkeka.

If the family does not have any child, two ears are place on the mkeka, the reason being that two people are responsible for bringing the child to birth in this universe. The vibunzi makes the people realize of the Nigerian proverb which says that it takes the whole of the village to raise a child.

Mishumaa Saba: The Seven Candles

Candles are the objects used in a ceremony in order to re-create the Sun’s power and to lighten up the premises. It is very commonly used in each and every country to fulfill the rituals at the time of the respective festivals that are being celebrated.

Mishumaa Saba are the seven candles in which three are red, three green and the remaining one is black colored. This color pattern is the symbolic representation of the African flag. The back candle signifies Umoja, the green Nia, Ujima and Imani, whereas the red ones symbolize Kujichagulia, Ujamaa, and Kuumba.

The red candles are placed to the left of the black candle and the green ones to its right. Each candle symbolizing one of the seven principles is lit on each of the seven days of Kwanzaa.

Kinara: Candle holder

The kinara forms the centre of the Kwanzaa. The shape of Kinara can be straight lines, or semicircles, or even spirals. It is made of fallen branches of the trees, wood or of some other natural materials.

The kinara represents the African ancestors who were much bound to their mother earth. They used to understand the human problems and used to resolve it all together, they also used to protect their descendants form evil powers and other mistakes.

Kikombe Cha Umoja: The Unity Cup

The Kikombe cha Umoja is a special cup used for serving the alcoholic beverages during the sixth day of Kwanzaa. In many African societies there’s a ritual of pouring the libation on the living dead whose souls stay with the earth they plowed.

During the feast, the cup is passed on to family members and other guests present over there, who drink from it to promote unity. Then, the eldest person present in the family pours the libation (tambikoa), which is generally water, juice, or wine, or some other alcoholic beverages in the direction of the four winds; north, south, east, and west in order to honor the ancestors.

Zawadi: Gifts

On the seventh and the last day of Kwanzaa, people gift their families or relatives with something meaningful. These gifts are called Zawadi. This is done in order to bless them with growth, self-determination, success and to wish them achieve all the prosperity they can.

Children of the family are specially rewarded with surprise gifts to encourage them. Some people prefer exchanging handmade gifts in order to avoid chaotic shopping and improve the creativity level in them.

 

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