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Creative Ways to Celebrate Kwanzaa with Your Family

For the 2nd year in a row, Urban Mommy has hosted a community Cultural Celebration in collaboration with Concordia University for children and famillies.

Urban Mommy Kwanzaa celebration 2015

 A relatively young holiday, Kwanzaa celebrations began with Dr. Maulana Karenga, who founded the holiday in 1966 with the purpose of celebrating the most important aspects of African-American Life, this including family, heritage, nature, and community.

Lasting seven days (December 26th- January 1st) during which family togetherness is prioritized Kwanzaa is not a religious holiday. Rather it aims to emphasize seven particular principles, namely:


Dec 26th– Unity

-Dec 27th- Self-determination

-Dec 28th- Collective work and responsibility

-Dec 29th- Cooperative economics

-Dec 30th- Purpose

-Dec 31st- Creativity

-Jan 1st- Faith

A candle known as the Mishumaa Saba is lit each day to celebrate one of these seven Kwanzaa principles. The primary colors of the holiday are black, red and green, which is why there are three red candles, three green candles and one black candle used during the celebrations.

storyteller Renee Mitchell sharing with the children

The lit candles are held by the kinara which is placed on a straw mat. Symbols such as corn, a fruit basket, and a unit cup play an important role in the celebration of this important African-American holiday.

+Creative ways to celebrate Kwanzaa

Kwanzaa is a family-oriented holiday and people are always encouraged to involve their children in the celebration of Kwanzaa if only to educate them on those most important aspects of African-American Life. There is always room for creativity when it comes to celebrating Kwanzaa with the children:

-Kwanzaa arts and crafts for kids are an often ignored element of celebrations during the holidays. This is despite the important role they can play in engaging the interest of children.

Consider encouraging your children to create collages and placemats using the primary colors of Kwanzaa.

 -Handmade cards and signs will not only engage your children’s creative senses but such projects will allow them to reach out to friends and family that have little interest in Kwanzaa.

-Allow your children to partake in those more important aspects of the celebrations. Let them light the kinara if possible, maybe even placing the ear of corn under the mat. Let them feel like they are part of the most important aspects of Kwanzaa.

-Because children learn best when having fun, try reading some literature about Kwanzaa to them. There is music geared towards young listeners about Kwanzaa that you could introduce them to.

-Some families have been known to travel during Kwanzaa. There are so many Kwanzaa oriented events that are hosted around the country every single year and which families could have a blast visiting, this including exhibitions and performances.

Along with experimenting in the kitchen as a family, there are numerous activities that you and your family could pursue on Kwanzaa in order to celebrate the holiday in a manner that is not only exciting but meaningful. When you choose to share this article on social media, you might be surprised by the wide-ranging opinions and ideas you will receive in the comments about the various creative ways people celebrate Kwanzaa, this holiday bringing people together and allowing them to explore African-American life today.

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Happy Kwanzaa!!