(FeatureSource) - In Swahili, "kwanzaa" means
"first fruits of the harvest." Since 1966, Kwanzaa has been a time
to honor and celebrate African-American culture and history.
From December 26 to January 1, the seven days of
Kwanzaa pay tribute to ancestors and the seven principles of unity,
self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative
economics, purpose, creativity, and faith. Here are some ideas for
your Kwanzaa gathering from Patty Sachs' book, "Pick a Party"
Make invitations and
decorations out of black, green, and red paper, perhaps woven
into an African mat called a "mkeka." Trim with black, green,
and red ribbons.
Decorate with African
artifacts, photographs, artwork, or travel posters. Place black
baskets with green and red fruits and vegetables around your
home. Kinaras are holders for the black, green, and red candles
that are lit each night of Kwanzaa.
Play traditional music,
learn traditional dances, and tell stories that highlight the
accomplishments of African-Americans.
Make mkeka mats, baskets,
and kinara candleholders. Kinaras can be made painting designs
on a jar or can.
Honor your ancestors by
making an audio or videotape of your life and experiences, or
writing a small book. These can become cherished keepsakes that
can be handed down for generations.
Celebrate the harvest with
a feast, or "karamua," of fresh fruits and vegetables. Share
juice from a unity cup.
"Pick a Party" includes
160 party themes to help readers turn holidays, birthdays, showers,
and evenings with friends or family into special occasions. It can
be found in bookstores everywhere.