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  July 31, 2014
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Decorating for Kwanzaa - Fun Kwanzaa Activites for Friends and Family

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Decorating for Kwanzaa

The decorations utilized to celebrate Kwanzaa are quite beautiful. The symbols traditionally used encompass a variety of items which hold a great deal of history and culture as well.

Here is a traditional Kwanzaa setting which is usually placed in a central location on one’s home. First, a piece of cloth made in Africa is placed on the table. On top of the cloth is the Mkeka or the mat which is the foundation for all essential items to be placed upon. The mat is symbolic of one’s roots. The Kinara, or candle holder, is set in the center of the mat. The candle holder is comprised of seven candles whose colors from left to right are: three red, one black, and three green.

What do these colors symbolize? Red represents the struggle; black signifies the people, and green is the hope for the future. The candles are known as the Mishumaa Saba, which also represent the 7 Kwanzaa Principles. What are the principles? Red stands for self-determination, cooperative economics and creativity. The black candle represents unity and is situation in the middle of the Kinara. Green stands for collective work and responsibility, purpose and faith.

In addition to the cloth, mat and candle holder there are ears of corn placed on the mat. The corn represents the children. Then a Unity Cup is placed on the mat. It is used in the Libation Statement of the Karamu Feast on December 31. Finally, books on African culture as well as other objects representing African culture are placed on the mat as well. The stress on education and continuous learning on African heritage is apparent.

Once every item is in place, the candles are lit; one each day starting with the black candle on December 26. Each candle is subsequently lit, starting from left moving to right, every day afterward until January 1.

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