symbol is an item or an object that already has a name and represents
something significant. It is renamed to give significance to a new group
of people or person. The Evergreen tree family are evergreens from January
to October of each year, around the middle of October they become Christmas
trees, thus representing a symbol of Christmas.
The symbols of
Kwanzaa serve as instructive and inspirational objects that represent
and reinforce desirable principles, concepts and practices as reflective
of both traditional and modern concepts which evolved out of the lives
and struggles of African-American people.
Symbols of Kwanzaa
Symbols of Kwanzaa
The Mkeka is a straw mat on which all the other items are placed.
It is a traditional item and therefore symbolizes tradition as the
foundation on which all else rests.
The Kinara is a candle-holder which holds seven candles and represents
the original stalk from which we all sprang. For it is traditionally
said that the First-Born is like a stalk of corn which produces corn,
which in turn becomes stalk, which reproduces in the same manner so
that there is no ending to us.
The seven candles represent the Seven Principles (Nguzo
Saba) on which the First-Born sat up our society in order that
our people would get the maximum from it. They are Umoja (Unity);
Kujichagulia (Self-Determination); Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility);
Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics); Nia (Purpose); Kuumba (Creativity),
and Imani (Faith).
The ear of corn represents the offspring or product (the children)
of the stalk (the father of the house). It signifies the ability or
potential of the offsprings, themselves, to become stalks (parents),
and thus produce their offspring -- a process which goes on indefinitely,
and insures the immortality of the Nation. To illustrate this, we
use as many ears of corn as we have children which again signifies
the number of potential stalks (parents). Every house has at least
one ear of corn; for there is always the potential even if it has
not yet been realized.
CHA UMOJA (Kee-coam-bay chah-oo-moe-jah)
The Unity Cup symbolizes the first principle of Kwanzaa. It is used
to pour the libation for our ancestors; and each member of the immediate
family or extended family drinks from it in a reinforcing gesture
of honor, praise, collective work and commitment to continue the struggle
began by our ancestors.
The presents (gifts) represent 1) the fruits of the labor of the parents,
and 2) the rewards of the seeds sown by the children. Parents must
commit their children to goodness which to us is beauty. We must commit
them to good acts, good thoughts, good grades, etc., for the coming
year and reward them according to how well they live up to their commitments.
Goodness, again, is beauty and beauty is that which promises happiness
to the family and community. For all acts, thoughts and values are
invalid if they do not in some way benefit the community.
The feast symbolizes the high festive celebration that brings
the community together to exchange and to give thanks to the Creator
for their accomplishments during the year. It is held on the night
of December 31 and includes food, drink, music, dance, conversation,
laughter and ceremony.
- NGUZO SABA
Symbolizes the seven principles of Kwanzaa which were developed by
Maulana Ron Karenga. The Nguzo Saba are social principles dealing
with ways for us to relate to each other and rebuild our lives in
our own images.
The flag of Black Nationalism symbolizes the struggle of Liberation.
The Red represents the blood of our ancestors; Black is for the collective
color of all Black people, and Green reminds us of the land, life
and new ideas we must continue to strive to obtain.
Symbolizes the libation by which honor is given in a special way
to our ancestors and a call to carry out the struggle and the work
they began. It clearly symbolizes the recognition of and respect for
the contributions of those before us, our history and the models it
offers us to emulate.
Symbolizes a call to unity and collective work and struggle. The
word means Let's pull together!
- HABARI GANI
What's the news; what's happening Swahili term used when
Swahili term used as an expression of parting with good wishes
and an expectancy to meet again.