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7 Ways to Celebrate Kwanzaa

Updated: Dec 30, 2023

Dr. Pickett Celebrating Kwanzaa with Students

It’s time! Time to carve out space to celebrate and honor African American culture during the holiday season. One of the best ways to do this is by celebrating Kwanzaa, which is a 7- day holiday that begins on December 26th and ends on January 1st. Each day is centered around a specific principle that is inspired by traditional African harvest festivals to unite, empower, heal, and celebrate the African American community.

Day 1: Umoja (Unity)

Day 2: Kujichagulia (Self-Determination)

Day 3: Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility)

Day 4: Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics)

Day 5: Nia (Purpose)

Day 6: Kuumba (Creativity)

Day 7: Imani (Faith)

The principles can be brought to life in all types of creative ways. Start by exploring the 7 ways to celebrate Kwanzaa that are listed below.

1. Kwanzaa Greeting

Begin each day of Kwanzaa with the traditional Kwanzaa greeting: “Habari Gani” (hah – BAR – ee GAH – nee), which is a Swahili term meaning “What is the news?” In response, the young person should say the name of the principle for that day.

2. Educational Treasure Hunt

Engage in a virtual Kwanzaa Treasure Hunt by seeking out the answers to some of the following questions.

  • What does the Kwanzaa holiday celebrate?

  • What are the 7 principles of Kwanzaa?

  • When does Kwanzaa begin and end?

  • What are the Mishumaa Saba of Kwanzaa?

  • What are the colors of Kwanzaa and what does each color symbolize?

  • What is the Kwanzaa Libation Statement, TAMSHI LA TAMBIKO.

  • What are the Kwanzaa Karamu, Kinara, Mkeka, and Mazao?

  • Find a photo that captures a Kwanzaa table display or Kwanzaa celebration.

The Kwanzaa Treasure Hunt is a great way for young people to develop their ability to explore, research, analyze, collect, and discuss information using Kwanzaa as a catalyst for learning.

Young people may complete the hunt individually or in small groups. Once they are done, they should be encouraged to share out their learnings. Bonus Tip: Prepare bags of candy money, treats, or goodies. Place the treats in a "treasure box." Once they are done with the hunt, invite them to collect a "treasure."

3. Candle Lighting Ceremony

Collect the seven candles of Kwanzaa and light one for each day of Kwanzaa to symbolize the principle of the day. After lighting each candle, encourage children to share what each principle means to them. Note: If your location does not allow the use of burning candles, consider using electric candles.

4. Kwanzaa Display

Using the photo you found during the treasure hunt as inspiration, collect some of the symbols of Kwanzaa and create a Kwanzaa table. Once it is complete, take a photo in front of the table to capture the moment.

5. Community Service

Select a local charity near you and volunteer your time.

6. Support Black Businesses

Select a local Black business and make plans to support them.

Plan a creative Karumu feast celebration, which is a feast that usually takes place on the 7th day of Kwanzaa. Play music, sing songs, play games, share stories to honor beloved ancestors, and recite the Kwanzaa Libation Statement.


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120 views3 comments


Mya Williams
Mya Williams
Dec 23, 2023

Thanks so much for the ideas! They all seem like great ways to celebrate. I will use all of these ideas to engage this year! :)


Tajah Haley
Tajah Haley
Dec 23, 2023

Great ideas! Thank you, I’ll be sure to do the Educational Treasure Hunt. Sounds so fun!


Tyra Robinson
Tyra Robinson
Dec 23, 2023

Great article! Definitely making sure to support black businesses this holiday season :)

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