Friday Four: Habari Gani?

We LOVE to celebrate Kwanzaa! I wish more people knew and lived by the 7 principles. Being that it’s our 5th year celebrating it, I figured I would share everything I have learned thus far about it. Ready? Here we go………

OK, so it’s a pretty young holiday created by Dr. Karenga ( Maulana Karenga, born  Ronald McKinley Everett )y

The name Kwanzaa comes from a phrase of Swahili origin, “Matunda Ya Kwanza”, and translates as “First Fruits of the Harvest”. The holiday is actually based on African agricultural rites and communal activities. One of the holiday’s main goals is to cause those of African descent to look back to their cultural roots as a source of celebration.

Kwanzaa is recognized from December 26 thru January 1 every year. It is not political, religious or related to Christmas. Learn more about the history, purpose and origins of Kwanzaa:

Here’s how to celebrate it in your home, community:

1. Decorate your home or the main room with the symbols of Kwanzaa. Put a green tablecloth over a centrally located table, and on top of that, place the Mkeka which is a straw or woven mat that symbolizes the historical foundation of African ancestry. Place the following on the Mkeka:

  • Mazao — fruit or crops placed in a bowl, representing the community’s productivity.
  • Kinara — a seven-pronged candle-holder.
  • Mishumaa Saba — the seven candles which represent the seven core principles of Kwanzaa. Three candles on the left are red, representing struggle; three on the right are green, representing hope; and one in the center is black, signifying the African American people or those who draw their heritage from Africa.
  • Muhindi — ears of corn. Lay out one ear of corn for each child; if there are no children, place two ears to represent the children of the community.
  • Zawadi — various gifts for the children.
  • Kikombe cha Umoja — a cup to represent family and community unity.

2.Decorate around the room with Kwanzaa flags, called Bendera, and posters emphasizing the seven principles. You can purchase or make these, and it’s especially fun to make them with the kids.

3. Practice the Kwanzaa greetings. Starting on December 26, greet everyone by saying “Habari Gani” which is a standard Swahili greeting meaning “what is the news?” If someone greets you, respond with the principle (Nguzo Saba) for that day:

  • December 26: “Umoja” — Unity
  • December 27: “Kujichagulia” — Self-determination
  • December 28: “Ujima” — Collective work and responsibility
  • December 29: “Ujamaa” — Cooperative economics
  • December 30: “Nia” — Purpose
  • December 31: “Kuumba” — Creativity
  • January 1: “Imani” — Faith.
  • Non African-Americans are also welcome to participate in greetings. The traditional greeting for them is “Joyous Kwanzaa.” dhf

4. Light the Kinara daily. Since each candle represents a specific principle, they are lit one day at a time, in a certain order. The black candle is always lit first. Some people light the remaining candles from left to right (red to green) while other people alternate as follows:

  • Black candle
  • Far left red candle
  • Far right green candle
  • Second red candle
  • Second green candle
  • Last red candle
  • Last green candle


Celebrate Kwanzaa in a variety of different ways. Pick and choose some or all of the following activities throughout the seven days of Kwanzaa, saving the feast for the sixth day. Kwanzaa ceremony may include:
  • Drumming and musical selections.
  • Readings of the African Pledge and the Principles of Blackness.
  • Reflections on the Pan-African colors, discussions of African principles of the day, or recitations of chapters in African history.
  • The candle-lighting ritual of the Kinara.
  • Artistic performances.

6.Have the Kwanzaa Karamu (feast) on the sixth day (New Year’s Eve). The Kwanzaa feast is a very special event that brings everyone closer to their African roots. It is traditionally held on December 31st and is a communal and cooperative effort. Decorate the place where the feast will be held in a red, green, and black scheme. A large Kwanzaa setting should dominate the room where the feast will be held. A large Mkeka should be placed in the center of the floor where the food is placed creatively and made accessible to all to serve themselves. Before and during the feast, an informative and entertaining program should be presented.

  • Traditionally, the program should involve welcoming, remembering, reassessment, recommitment and rejoicing concluded by a farewell statement and a call for greater unity.
  • During the feast, drinks are to be shared from a communal cup, the Kikombe cha Umoja, passed around to all celebrants.pp

7.Give out the gifts of Kumba. Kuumba, meaning creativity, is highly encouraged and brings a sense of self-satisfaction. The gifts are usually exchanged between the parents and children and are given out traditionally on January 1st, the last day of Kwanzaa. Since the giving of gifts has very much to do with Kuumba, the gifts should be of an educational or artistic nature.

These principles, if followed will be a blessing to your family life. I have seen the enhancements to my tribe and I know it’s because of the year long lessons we receive in just these seven little days of the year.

-QC Supermom

Habari Gani!

Habari Gani!

Kwannza 2013 Day 1 in the QC

We are not the Grinch’s, Christmas had it’s day. We served others and bonded among ourselves. Now that it’s over, I’m so thrilled about celebrating KWANZAA!

kwanzaa sign

Kwanzaa is a week-long celebration held in the United States and also celebrated in the Western African Diaspora in other nations of the Americas. The celebration honors African heritage in African-American culture, and is observed from December 26 to January 1, culminating in a feast and gift-giving.[1] Kwanzaa has seven core principles (Nguzo Saba). It was created by Maulana Karenga, and was first celebrated in 1966–67.

Soulful drumming and dancing

Soulful drumming and dancing

It is the highlight of my year! Seven days of non commercialized celebration. Last year was wonderful. It was hosted at different locations in Charlotte. Each one was different and enriching. The children were encouraged to participate and most did each night. Each day a candle is lit and celebrations is shared by ALL families together!  Last year I took not only 6 of my children, but a few other loved ones too. They LOVED it! I hope that one year all of my children can celebrate together.  It’s totally something you need before leaving for college, as the information  and connections will sticks around way after the daily gatherings.The wisdom from the elders, on to the calling for greater good is surly nothing you can get from a store, school or regular massive gathering.


If I was asked what I love most about Kwanzaa, my answer would be very easy and simple. I love the fact that once a year, I get a bunch of other people to remind my children why they a important. They are encouraged to walk into their purpose and thrive without looking back. Kwanzaa is a very powerful event and I can’t wait for tonight’s gathering. I’ll be sure to capture some of it to share in Friday Fours post. Till then here is more Kwanzaa media and this year’s agenda.

“Kwanzaa was created to reaffirm and restore our rootedness in African culture.” It is a cultural rather than religious holiday, and can be celebrated regardless of a person’s faith tradition.”



Kids crafts




Story teller, Noona Rue at Kamit, Charlotte NC

Story teller, Noona Rue at Kamit, Charlotte NC

Wednesday WOW: Goodbye Christmas,hello Kwanzaa


is an African American and Pan-African holiday which celebrates family, community and African American culture that is celebrated annually from December 26 through January 1. As far as holidays go, Kwanzaa is the new kid on the block. It was created in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga as a way to help Africans and African-Americans honor family, community and culture. Kwanzaa is not a religious holiday, but to many African-American families it is just as important as one. Kwanzaa is a celebration of traditions and heritage and a chance to  wrap up the year and reflect on important values so they can start the new year off with a sense of family, responsibility, self-respect and community. It’s also a lot of fun- seven days of food,music, dancing, creativity and family time! Join my family this years as we celebrate Kwanzaa. I’ve been waiting on this  ALL YEAR LONG!!!


UMOJA means Unity and it is my favorite day because it is simple.  Gather together and rejoice, remember, and recommit yourself to your ancestors, friends, family and community.  There are four posts highlighting this principle of unity on several levels from the very intimate to mass organizing.  They demonstrate the power of unity to change our world and our-selves. I’m so excited to share it with Noah, as this will be his very 1st Kwanzaa.


KUJICHAGULIA means self-determine/self determination and this is my second favorite day (you will start to see a pattern) because I love saying koo-jee-jha-koo-lee-ah.  I also love it because I believe that is the greatest gift of motherhood.  I’ve learned the importance of naming/defining oneself and the power of determining your path for yourself.  Although my oldest son is far away in college, I hope that he joins us via Skype in reaffirming this principle.


The highest form of Ignorance is when you reject something you do not understand

UJIMA is really my favorite because I am a fan of collaboration and service in all areas of life.  It means “collective work and responsibility” and this is something we, my family and moms group truly believe in.  It is not enough to think about change, we must act! Whether is it recognizing the importance of care/self-care, the necessity of organizing, all of our responsibility to support mothers (parents) in childcare, or fighting to defend our right to exist—we must Act!


These will take us to Friday- On Friday Fours post I’ll share what my family and I will do for the remainder of Kwanzaa, even our last day, Imani. Our feast will be GRAND!  Many people want to know about Kwanzaa. Thank you all for sharing the information and for practicing Umoja today. We also need to teach the new generation. To get daily event on what we’re doing during the week visit us on facebook. I’ll post our calender there. I hope that you can join us!

Till next time, QC Supermomallo