The 7 Symbols of Kwanzaa
In addition to the 7 Kwanzaa Principles established by Kwanzaa founder Dr. Karenga, there are also the 7 Symbols of Kwanzaa. Each of these symbols represents the values of the African culture and is used to reinforce one’s commitment to community, family and unity.
The following symbols are appropriately cited from the officialkwanzaawebsite.org wherein much of Dr. Karenga’s beliefs as well as information pertaining to the origin of Kwanzaa emanate.
Note the symbols are written in Swahili and English.
“Mazao or The Crops: These are symbolic of African harvest celebrations and of the rewards of productive and collective labor.
Mkeka or The Mat: This is symbolic of our tradition and history and therefore, the foundation on which we build.
Kinara or The Candle Holder: This is symbolic of our roots, our parent people -- continental Africans.
Muhindi or The Corn: This is symbolic of our children and our future which they embody.
Mishumaa Saba or The Seven Candles: These are symbolic of the Nguzo Saba, the Seven Principles, the matrix and minimum set of values which African people are urged to live by in order to rescue and reconstruct their lives in their own image and according to their own needs.
Kikombe cha Umoja or The Unity Cup: This is symbolic of the foundational principle and practice of unity which makes all else possible.
Zawadi or The Gifts: These are symbolic of the labor and love of parents and the commitments made and kept by the children.”
In addition, Dr. Karenga has added two additional symbols; one of which is the Bendera or The Flag which consist of the three colors of Organization Us. The colors are red, black and green. The second symbol is the Nguzo Saba Poster which is consistent with the Poster of the Seven Principles.
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