Kwanzaa Part 2

Kwanzaa Part 2

A now 52 year long tradition, Kwanzaa is definitely a beautiful way to celebrate with family. At Hancock International College we keep our family of ESL students strong by following out mission statement. As with Kwanzaa which has it’s own principals to follow as a path for this tradition. says, “The Principles of Kwanzaa

umoja (oo-MOH-ja)

Meaning: unity

Action: building a community that holds together

kujichagulia (koo-jee-cha-goo-LEE-yah)

Meaning: self-determination

Action: speaking for yourself and making choices that benefit the community

ujima (oo-JEE-mah)

Meaning: collective work and responsibility

Action: helping others within the community

ujamaa (oo-JAH-ma)

Meaning: cooperative economics

Action: supporting businesses that care about the community

nia (nee-AH)

Meaning: a sense of purpose

Action: setting goals that benefit the community

kuumba (koo-OOM-bah)

Meaning: creativity

Action: making the community better and more beautiful

imani (ee-MAH-nee)

Meaning: faith

Action: believing that a better world can be created for communities now and in the future

Colorful Celebrations

Families gather for the great feast of karamu on December 31. Karamu may be held at a home, community center, or church. Celebrants enjoy traditional African dishes as well as those featuring ingredients Africans brought to the United States, such as sesame seeds (benne), peanuts (groundnuts), sweet potatoes, collard greens, and spicy sauces.

Especially at karamu, Kwanzaa is celebrated with red, black, and green. These three colors were important symbols in ancient Africa that gained new recognition through the efforts of Marcus Garvey’s Black Nationalist movement. Green is for the fertile land of Africa; black is for the color of the people; and red is the for the blood that is shed in the struggle for freedom.

The Seven Symbols

Celebrants decorate with red, black, and green as well as African-style textiles and art. At the heart of Kwanzaa imagery, however, are the seven symbols.

The Seven Symbols of Kwanzaa

kikombe cha umoja

Meaning: the unity cup

Action: Celebrants drink from this cup in honor of their African ancestors. Before drinking, each person says “harambee,” or “let’s pull together.”


Meaning: the candleholder, which holds seven candles

Action: It said to symbolize stalks of corn that branch off to form new stalks, much as the human family is created.


Meaning: fruits, nuts, and vegetables

Action: These remind celebrants of the harvest fruits that nourished the people of Africa.

mishumaa saba

Meaning: the seven candles that represent the seven principles

Action: A different candle is lit each day. Three candles on the left are green; three on the right are red; and in the middle is a black candle.


Meaning: mat

Action: The symbols of Kwanzaa are arranged on the mkeka, which may be made of straw or African cloth. It symbolizes the foundation upon which communities are built.

vibunzi (plural, muhindi)

Meaning: ear of corn

Action: Traditionally, one ear of corn is placed on the mkeka for each child present.


Meaning: gifts

Action: Traditionally, educational and cultural gifts are given to children on January 1, the last day of Kwanzaa.”

Full Article:

Idiom of the Day

In Principle

Meaning: Generally, without regard to the specific details.

Example: The government has agreed in principle that it will cover the cost of building a new school, but so far we haven’t seen a clear proposal on how this would be accomplished.