The Significance and Symbolism of the Kwanzaa Kinara 1


Kwanzaa is a cultural celebration that takes place from December 26 to January 1 each year. It is a time for the African American community to come together and honor their heritage, values, and achievements. One of the most important symbols of Kwanzaa is the kinara, a candleholder that represents the seven principles of Kwanzaa. Should you desire to extend your understanding of the subject, be sure to check out this carefully selected external resource we’ve prepared to complement your reading. Kwanzaa kinara!

History of Kwanzaa

Kwanzaa was created in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga, a professor of Africana Studies. He wanted to provide a way for African Americans to connect with their African roots and celebrate their unique culture. Kwanzaa draws inspiration from various African harvest festivals and is centered around seven principles, known as the Nguzo Saba.

The Meaning of the Kwanzaa Kinara

The kinara is a wooden candleholder with seven candle slots, each representing one of the seven principles of Kwanzaa. These principles are Umoja (Unity), Kujichagulia (Self-Determination), Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity), and Imani (Faith). Each candle is lit on a different day of the Kwanzaa celebration, starting from left to right.

Symbolism of the Candles

Each candle on the kinara has a specific meaning and represents the values and aspirations of the African American community. The three red candles symbolize the struggle and sacrifices made by their ancestors. The three green candles represent hope, renewal, and the future. The one black candle, known as the “Unity candle,” is lit first and represents the people coming together as one.

The Lighting of the Kinara

During the Kwanzaa celebration, the kinara is lit each evening. On the first day, the black Unity candle is lit, followed by the lighting of the red candles on subsequent days. The green candles are the last to be lit. As each candle is lit, a reflection on the corresponding principle is shared, emphasizing the importance of that principle in everyday life.

Decorating the Kinara

While the kinara is traditionally made of wood, it can be decorated in various ways. Some families choose to adorn the candleholder with African-inspired patterns or symbols, while others incorporate natural elements such as leaves and flowers. The important aspect is that the kinara reflects the unique heritage and creativity of the family celebrating Kwanzaa.

Family and Community Involvement

Kwanzaa is a time for families and communities to come together and celebrate their shared values. The lighting of the kinara is often accompanied by songs, prayers, and discussions about the principles of Kwanzaa. It is also common for families to exchange gifts, especially those that promote African culture and heritage.

Teaching and Passing on Traditions

Kwanzaa and the kinara are not only symbols of cultural celebration but also serve as a means of passing on traditions to future generations. By involving children in the lighting of the kinara and discussions about the principles, families ensure that the values of Kwanzaa are carried forward and cherished for years to come. Eager to learn more about the topic? kwanzaa candle set, reveal supplementary and worthwhile details that will enhance your comprehension of the subject covered.


The Kwanzaa kinara holds great significance and symbolizes the principles and values of the African American community. It serves as a reminder of the importance of unity, self-determination, collective work, and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith. Through the lighting of the kinara and celebrations during Kwanzaa, families and communities strengthen their bonds, honor their heritage, and inspire future generations.

Expand your view on the subject in the related posts we’ve prepared. Enjoy your reading:

Dive into this impartial analysis

The Significance and Symbolism of the Kwanzaa Kinara 2

Visit this informative resource


Comments are closed