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How to celebrate Kwanzaa {any time of year}

Do you celebrate Kwanzaa? Do you know what it is? Do you know where to find the best information about getting started? Well, if you answered no to any of those questions, then you are my people.

Listen, I am with you. I know what Kwanzaa is, and I generally know how it’s celebrated, but there are two things I have never considered in response to Kwanzaa.  What it means to me as a black woman and what it could mean to my children. It got me thinking…

If 2020 has taught me anything at all, it’s that the days of perfection are gone. The perfect Christmas, the perfect wedding, the perfect way to welcome a child into the world, the perfect way to say goodbye to someone you’ve lost. Collectively, we have lost the opportunity to have things the way we want this year, and I have to say that while it has been extremely painful, it has also been freeing.

I don’t feel bad that I am not totally prepared to implement every aspect of Kwanzaa. I am not trying to create the perfect Kwanzaa. I am just showing up {in my pj’s and all}, and I encourage you to do the same thing. Who says we can’t celebrate all year?


Traditions of our heritage can ground us to who we really are. I believe that Kwanzaa can do that.

There are 7 principles of Kwanzaa, and even if you consider one of them and think about how you can embody that principle, you are living Kwanzaa.

By the time you finish reading this, you will know what it is and where to go to get started on your Kwanzaa journey.

Are you with me?

What is Kwanzaa?

Kwanzaa is a celebration of African American Culture. It is based on the principles that guide the culture, and it starts on December 26 and ends on January 1.

Kwanzaa was created by Maulana Karenga, a professor of Africana studies, an activist, and an author who wanted to create the first pan-African holiday. Karenga said that he wanted to, “give Blacks an alternative to the existing holiday and give Blacks an opportunity to celebrate themselves and their history, rather than simply imitate the practice of the dominant society.”


Kwanzaa means first fruits and is based on 7 principles.

  • Umoja {Unity}—To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.
  • Kujichagulia {self-determination}—To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves.
  • Ujima {collective work and responsibility}—To build and maintain our community together and make our brother’s and sister’s problems our problems and to solve them together.
  • Ujamaa {cooperative economics}—To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.
  • Nia {Purpose}—To make our collective vocation the building and development of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
  • 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.
  • Imani {faith}—To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle. 

Candles by Heritage Apothocary/ Candles holders as a modern kinara from here /John Lewis print here

How and when you start is up to you, and I would argue that you could start at any time. It’s about the principles, not the day.



The Ultimate Guide: here Written by my new friend, Jess over at Heritage Apothecary

Kids Books: here

Kids Crafts:  here and here

Video: The Black Candle {documentary}, Short videos for kids

Podcasts: here {Hey Black Child podcast- for kids}, here {a fun story time for kids} and here {a brief history}


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