ELED 405

NOVEMBER 20,1996

GRADE LEVEL: 2nd-3rd
AUTHOR: Tracy Cady

Kwanzaa is an African-American celebration. It was established in 1966 by Dr. Maulana "Ron" Karenga, a scholar and social activist.
Kwanzaa celebrates African harvest and is based on beliefs and values of traditional African customs. Kwanzaa is an annual celebration that begins on December 26 and lasts for seven days. Kwanzaa means "first fruits" in Swahili, the chosen language of Kwanzaa. The extra 'a' was added to give the name seven letters, on for each of the seven principles of Kwanzaa.
Kwanzaa is the only original African-American holiday. It helps African-Americans look back at their roots. Kwanzaa is based on principles of African harvest rituals. Dr. Karenga adopted principles that were critical to building strong families and communities.
Kwanzaa is based on 7 principles or Nguzo Saba (nah- GOO-zoh SAH-bah), they are:
1. UMOJA (oo-M)-jah)-Unity. We help each other.
2. KUJICHAGULIA (koo-jee-cha-goo-LEE-ah)-Self determination.
We decide things for ourselves.
3. UJIMA (00-JEE-mah)-Collective work and responsibility.
We work together to make life better.
4. UJAMMA (oo-JEE-mah)-Cooperative economics. We build and
Support our own businesses.
5. NIA (NEE-ah)-Purpose. We have a reason for living.
6. KUUMBA (koo-OOM-bah)- Creativity. We use our minds and hands to make things.
7. IMANI (ee-MAH-nee)-Faith. We believe in ourselves, our ancestors, and our future.

Kwanzaa is a cultural celebration to help African-Americans remember their heritage. It is also a time of joy and sharing. The goal of Kwanzaa is to put the 7 principles into practice in their daily lives. During this week long celebration, families get together and reflect on cultural values. It is a time for reflection, joy and making promises for a better year. The African-Americans wear traditional clothing-a dashiki for the men (a shirt) and dresses for the women adorned with beautiful beads. The girls also wear a gele or turban about their head. They sing songs, tell stories and dance.
There are many symbols of Kwanzaa. The kinara is a candle holder. On each night of the celebration one of the candles in the kinara is lit. There are 3 red, 1 black and 3 green candles. The red represents the blood and struggles of Africa. The green portrays faith. The black stands for their skin color.

Mkeka-a mat. The mat represents a firm foundation. This is
what the corn, the kinara and the unity cup are placed on.
Benara ya Taifa-Flag. Its colors are red, black, and green.
Habari gani-A Swahili greeting. It means, what's new or what's the news?
Karamu- A feast that takes place on the 6th night of Kwanzaa, December 31.
Kiombe cha umoja-The unity cup. Everyone at the celebration drinks from this cup. It reinforces the value of unity in the family and community.
Mazao-Fruits and vegetables, represents the harvest and working together.
Muhindi-Corn, represents children. They are the hope for the future. One ear for each child in the family.
Tamshi la Tutaonana-Farewell statement or speech given at the end of Kwanzaa.
Zawadi-Gifts, simple things like books, heirlooms or handmade items, exchanged on Imani (the 7th night).

Swahili pronunciation guide:
a is pronounced like the a in far
e is pronounced like the a in say
i is pronounced like the ee in see
o is pronounced like the oe in toe
u is pronounced like the oo in coo

Burden-Patman,D. (1992). Imani's Gift at Kwanzaa: Teacher's Guide
Cleveland: Modern Curriculum Press.
Chocolate,D. (1990). Kwanzaa. Chicago: Children's Book Press.
Chocolate,D. (1992). My First Kwanzaa Book. New York: Scholastic
Copage, E. (1991). Kwanzaa-An African American Celebration Of Culture and Cooking. New York: Wm. Morrow and Co.
Kwanzaa Celebration Box Pamphlet. (1993)-Lakeshore Learning Materials.
Medearis,A. (1995). A Kwanzaa Celebration.
New York, New York: Dutton Publishing Co.

Students will identify similarities and differences between the celebrations: Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa.-
Students will identify African art, music and language.-
Students will demonstrate cooperation by playing an African game.-
Students will demonstrate their understanding of Kwanzaa by writing a story or poem.

TIME ALLOTMENT: Approximately 4 class periods plus homework
Books: Imani's Gift at Kwanzaa (2-3 grade)
Kwanzaa (1-2 grade)
My First Kwanzaa (k-1 grade)
-colored paper-red, black and green
-parent interview letter/invitation (Appendix)
-tape of African music or drums
-chart paper and marker-KWL
-OPT.-If possible, obtain real items: kinara, mat, unity cup, hat, ears of corn, other vegetables and table
-potatoes and knife
-large poster paper
-paper for mural-also paint and brushes
-audio tape for story book (make a tape of the book selected
have available at a listening center)
-recipes for Kwanzaa food (Appendix)NOTE: If you want help
preparing the food, ask a parent ahead of time.

Suggestion: Present this unit in December along with other celebrations-Hanukkah and Christmas.
DAY 1:
A. Brainstorm. Ask students what they know about Kwanzaa celebration. Use a KWL chart and chart their responses. Also locate Africa on a map.
B. Literature Extension. Read book, Imani's Gift . Discuss who, why, what, where and how of Kwanzaa. Add responses to KWL chart.
C. Hands on. Music game: Play African music or drums. Play a rock passing game, Oboo Asi Me Nsa Nana. The children of Ghana play this game. They sing while passing the rock. It reinforces the
3rd principle- cooperation (Ujima). To play, the children sit in a circle and pass the rock around counterclockwise. They tap the rock on the ground and pass it to the next person in rhythm to the beat of the music.
T-tap P-pass
Oboo asi me nsa nana. Oboo asi me nsa.

If a student breaks the rhythm, then he is out. This s a game of precision, accuracy, rhythm and cooperation. Translated, the song means: The rock crushed my hand Grandma. The rock crushed my hand.
D. Interview. After the children have played the rock passing game. Have them interview their parents. Ask the parents what their favorite childhood game was. The child will share these in class the next day. Send home the interview letter/invitation.

DAY 2:
E. Mini-lecture . Display Kwanzaa items on a table or have a poster to look at. (You could also review pictures n the book.) Explain the various symbols and Swahili vocabulary used.
F. Hands-on. Set up a writing center. Post new Swahili words at the center. The children will write their own Kwanzaa story or poem.

DAY 3: (Set up 3 centers. Have the children number off by threes. Divide the class into 3 groups. Each child will have an opportunity at each center. The teacher will rotate and supervise the centers.)
G. Hands on: 1) ART- Create a Kwanzaa poster using potatoes to stamp a design. In the appendix and in the resource pamphlet on Kwanzaa ,there is a chart of Kwanzaa symbols.
2) Mural-Hang large piece of paper on a wall in the classroom. The children are to paint a scene depicting a Kwanzaa celebration.
3) Mkeka or mat. Using a 8x11 piece of black paper, students weave 1" strips of red and green paper alternately into the black paper.
Close the day with a discussion on "what have we learned about Kwanzaa ", fill in KWL chart. Also discuss similarities and differences between Hanukkah and Christmas celebrations. Have the children either write or draw a picture about 2 similarities and 2 differences between the 3 holidays. (Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa.)

H. Culmination. Have a class Kwanzaa celebration. Invite parents to attend. This will be a sharing day. The children can share their stories or poems, games and art. Serve Kwanzaa foods and punch. As the teacher you can prepare the food or ask a parent to prepare it.


Stories or poems about Kwanzaa will be assessed. -
Discussion at the closure of KWL chart will be assessed.-
Observation of mural-were concepts discussed applied?-
Draw picture or write a few sentences about the similarities and differences between Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa.


Dear Parents,
We are studying about Kwanzaa in our class. The children have learned an African game. Please take a moment and visit with your child about games you liked to play as a child. The children will be sharing these as part of a closure to our unit.
Also, we will be having a class Kwanzaa celebration. You are cordially invited to attend.
Refreshments will be served. Thank you for your cooperation,


Tracy D. Cady

Banana Fritters
4 tablespoons of sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
2 eggs
2/3 c. Milk
1 very ripe banana-peeled and mashed
Need: Deep fryer, a bowl ,fork and paper towels
1. Mix sugar and flour, then add eggs and milk.
2. Blend in the banana.
3. Form the mixture into thick patties, or fritters.
4. Deep-fry the fritters at 375' for three minutes. (Warning: Be very careful of the danger of hot-oil spills and splashes.) Remove the fritters when they are a golden brown.
5. Drain the fritters on a paper towel and sprinkle with confectioners' sugar. Delicious!

Makes about 30 servings
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
2 ripe bananas, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup fresh or frozen sliced strawberries
5 cups orange juice
2 cups pineapple juice
4 quarts of gingerale
1. In a small saucepan, bring the sugar and water to a boil, stirring just until the sugar has dissolved. Remove the syrup from the heat.
2. In a food processor or blender, puree the bananas, strawberries, and the sugar syrup. Combine the puree, orange juice, and pineapple juice in a large bowl. Pour the fruit mixture into a 9-cup fluted tube mold. Cover it with foil, and freeze until very solid, at least 24 hrs. Or up to 3 days.
3. Run hot water around the outside of the mold. Remove the foil and unmold it into a large punch bowl. Pour 2 quarts of the ginger ale around the fruit block. As the punch is served add additional ginger ale as necessary.

Return to Celebrations Table of Contents