Saturday, December 26, 2009

Lighting the Kinara for Kwanzaa

I always enjoy learning about different cultures and as we are at the start of Kwanzaa I thought I would showcase artist that have made the lighting of the Kinara an art in itself. I loved Renee's take on Kwanzaa and wanted to share with you all.

Lighting the Kinara for Kwanzaa - written by Renee of Cutie Booty Cakes

The first time I was introduced to Kwanzaa I was in high school and watched an African dance troupe perform and symbolically light the seven candles on the kinara – 3 red for the struggle, 3 green for hope and the future, and the black candle in the middle for unity. As I became older I heard more and more about Kwanzaa and now the word has become a normal part of everyone’s vernacular during the December holiday season. But what is Kwanzaa? Kwanzaa is a Kiswahili word that means first fruits. It is a celebration of African heritage started by Ron Karenga during the black nationalist movement in the sixties.

Starting on December 26 – January 1st, a candle is lit on a kinara to symbolize the principal of the day. The seven principals are:

Umoja (Unity) To strive for and to maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race.

Kujichagulia (Self-Determination) To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves and speak for ourselves.

Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility) To build and maintain our community together and make our brothers’ and sisters’ problems our problems and to solve them together.

Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics) To build and maintain our own stores, shops and other businesses and to profit from them together.

Nia (Purpose) To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.

Kuumba (Creativity) To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.

Imani (Faith) To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.

In my family we light a candle daily and recite what the principle of the day means to each of us. My son is still young but he enjoys watching the candle lights. On the final day we celebrate the principal of faith and have a family get together. For more information about Kwanzaa you can watch the award winning documentary The Black Candle.

I went out to the web to find more pictures of Kinara's for Kwanzaa

And my favorite Holiday Kwanzaa card Umoja

Happy Kwanzaa !

Till tomorrow .. keep creating !
Tina aka Daily Muse


amy said...

I don't have to go anywhere else to learn one new thing a day...I just go HERE! Very interesting...I knew a little about Kwanzaa but not as much as you've found! Rich colors, warmth...all embued in the artwork. Lovely!

Anonymous said...

Glad you enjoyed Amy ! That is how we keep growing, learning about new cultures !

Post a Comment