Kwanzaa is a unique holiday. It is a celebration of family, heritage, and community. It’s a tapestry of the past, present, and future that looks toward the next day while honoring the last day.
Dr. Maulana Karenga, a professor at California State University in Long Beach created the holiday. Kwanzaa is not one holiday, it is a seven-day celebration pulled together from traditions of many different African countries. The days or “Seven Principles” are Umoja (Unity), Kujichagulia (Self-Determination), Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity), and Imani (Faith).
The best gifts to give family and friends are homemade. Here are two.
- Get your supplies: You’ll need one sheet of black beeswax, three sheets of red beeswax, three sheets of green beeswax (all about 8 x 16”), and a roll of #2 square braid wick.
- Starting with the black wax sheet, cut a wick that’s about 8 ¾” long. Line the wick up along the edge of the 8” side of the wax, then fold the wax tightly over the wick, pressing firmly to hold in place.
- Gently continue rolling, keeping the ends of the wax sheet straight as you go, until the entire wax sheet is rolled up with the wick in the center. Gently press the end of the sheet against the rest of the candle to seal.
- Repeat with the remaining wax sheets.
- A scrapbook or album filled with photos of family and friends of past Kwanzaa celebrations, song lyrics of favorites songs for the holiday, recipes, and bits of kente cloth.