Kwanzaa is a week-long holiday (Dec 26th – Jan 1) honoring the culture and traditions of African people and their descendants worldwide, especially in the United States. Maulana Karenga, an African-American leader, proposed the observance which was first celebrated in 1966.

Kwanzaa consists of a week of celebrations, which ends with a feast and the exchange of gifts. During the celebrations, candles are lit and libations (ritual offering) are poured. During Kwanzaa, a wooden unity cup is used to pour the libations.

A Kwanzaa ceremony often also includes performance of music and drumming and a discussion of some aspect of African history. The main symbols of Kwanzaa are a mat, on which to place the items needed for the celebration, the unity cup used to pour libations, a candle stick holding seven candles, the seven candles (three red and green and one black-the colors of Kwanzaa), ears of corn, the Kwanzaa flag and a poster depicting the seven principles of Kwanzaa: unity; self-determination; collective work and responsibility; co-operative economics; purpose; creativity; and earth. Three of the seven candles are red, three are green and one is black. Each candle represents one of the principles of Kwanzaa. The candle holder is carved from a single piece of wood and its’ shape was inspired by the form of the Ashanti royal throne.

Tomorrow, Another Vintage Card         Rita Bay

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