Looking at Kwanzaa in a New Light


Even though we are an African American family, we never really celebrated Kwanzaa. My family didn’t celebrate growing up and I didn’t introduce it to my children until now and I couldn’t be more excited to share this new tradition with my family. 

What is Kwanzaa?

Kwanzaa is a celebration of African American culture that lasts from December 26 to January 1. Each day, a candle is lit on the candleholder (kinara). The candles are representative of seven principles: unity, self-determination, collective responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith. On the final day, there is a large feast (karamu). There are a few symbols such as red, green, and red candles, drums, a straw mat, and wearing kente during the final celebration. 

Why Celebrate?

Kwanzaa originated in 1966 by an African studies professor, Maulana Karenga and was a way to celebrate African American culture while bringing honor to African culture and a focus on family.

For me, it is a time to connect the past with our future and to always celebrate the beauty in the journey. I want to share with my children the significance of their culture and celebrate the principles of Kwanzaa together. 

With the past few years that we have had, I feel now is an important time to incorporate this tradition. Kwanzaa was much more celebrated in the 80s and 90s than it is now, but I feel the core of what makes Kwanzaa special for the African American community is needing to be revived. 

Looking At Kwanzaa in a New Light

I never really saw the significance of celebrating Kwanzaa until I became a mom. I want them to be proud of who they are, where they come from and know where they are going in the future. I want them to be brave, strong, and know that they are special and be true to themselves. I see Kwanzaa as a time to reflect but be empowered in our history and our future. 

How Can I Support My Mom Friend Who Celebrates Kwanzaa?

If you have a mom friend who celebrates Kwanzaa, you can support her and her family by making a dish for the feast, gift books about Kwanzaa to her children, or you can simply ask her to share what they learned with you. I have learned so much about other cultural traditions from my mom friends and by supporting the things they do.  

Do you celebrate Kwanzaa? 


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here