Kwanzaa is an African American celebration that focuses on African American culture and traditions. The seven-day event begins on December 26 and ends on January 2. The name of this celebration comes from the sentence “matunda ya kwanza,” which means “first fruits of the harvest” in Swahili. Kwanzaa is a social holiday, not a religious one. All African Americans, regardless of their religious beliefs, are encouraged to come together and focus on their family, culture, community, and roots. The message of Kwanzaa is family, unity, and togetherness.
Kwanzaa was created in 1966 by Dr. Maulana “Ron” Karenga, a Professor of Black Studies at California State University, Long Beach. His goal was to create a nonpolitical and nonreligious celebration of African values.
On each night of the seven nights of Kwanzaa, people gather around the seven symbols (pictured) to discuss one of the seven values of Kwanzaa: unity, self-determination, collective responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.
Let’s take a day-by-day look:
December 26, 2016 Umoja (unity): To strive for and to maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.
At TAMS and ED Homeschool, we teach our children that unity begins within. It begins with identifying with and loving ourselves first. We do this with lessons, such as writing their own African Praise Poems, that encourage them to look at themselves and write positive expressions about what they see. Umoja is then reinforced with questions about our parents, grandparents, and ancestors.
December 27: Kujichagulia (self determination): To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves.
Encourage your children to ask themselves questions. Remind them that to define themselves is to understand how they see themselves and challenge if they are all that they ought to and can be. Ask questions such as the following:
- Who am I?
- Am I living up to all of the positive things that I say about myself?
- Am I all that I ought to be?
December 28: Ujima (collective work and responsibility): To build and maintain our community and make our brother’s and sister’s problems our problems and to solve them together.
December 29: Ujamaa (Cooperative economics) To build and maintain our own stores, shops and other businesses and to profit from them together.
December 30: Nia (purpose) To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
December 31: Kuumba (creativity) To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.
January 1: Imani (faith) To believe in God, parents, teachers or leaders.
Please enjoy our gift for you.
Free Kwanzaa Lessons and Worksheets from
TAMS and ED Homeschool
Kwanzaa Study Guide (elementary-middle)
Our FREE 22-page Kwanzaa Study Guide comes with a song, activities, reading passages, writing assignments, and coloring pages designed to teach students all about this African America celebration. With friendly cartoons to facilitate comprehension, the Guide includes a daily lesson designed to stimulate creativity, thinking, and cultural pride.
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