African-Americans rejoice in their heritage during a special holiday called Kwanzaa. The word Kwanzaa comes from the Swahili phrase, "matunda ya kwanza," meaning "first fruits." Kwanzaa is a time where friends and family get together to honor their heritage, traditional values and cultural strengths through remembering, singing, dancing and sharing traditional foods.

Author: Kari Giles

Grade Level: Early Elementary


1. Students will create a mkeka (place mat).

2. Students will create explain how this particular symbol and associated colors are used to focus attention to the meaning of an African American celebration called Kwanzaa.



Return to Africa Table of Contents

The information came from: Walter, Mildred Pitts, Kwanzaa A Family Affair. New York: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Books, 1995.