December 26, 2008

The Celebration of Kwanzaa

For many around the world, 26 December is Boxing Day but for many African Americans and Pan-Africans it signifies the start of Kwanzaa. It is a holiday that celebrates family, community and culture. Kwanzaa beings 26 December thru 1 January and its origins are in the first harvest celebrations of Africa from which it takes its name.

The name Kwanzaa is derived from the phrase "matunda ya kwanza" meaning "first fruits" in Swahili.

Traditionally, it is a time of gathering and the creation of hand-crafted gifts for members of the family and revolved around seven principles:


[photo taken from officialkwanzaawebsite.org]

Today we'll show you how to make a kinara, which is the candle holder. It represents the roots of our ancestors, the continental Africans. The kinara is also a part of the seven basic symbols of Kwanzaa. On each night of Kwanzaa, a new candle is lit.

What you'll need:

  • Egg carton, you need 7 egg cups

  • 7 jumbo craft sticks

  • Yellow and orange construction paper

  • Acrylic paint: green, red, black, and brown

  • Glue

  • Scissors

  • Paint brush

  • Hot glue gun

How to make it:

  1. Cut 12 place egg carton down the middle to create 2 lengths of six cups. Cut one of those lengths in half, creating 2 lengths of three cups each. Cut one egg cup from the other length of 6. You will need the 2 sets of 3 and the single cup, set aside the other cups for another project.

  2. Trim the egg cup edges with scissors to clean them up and so that it will stand evenly, cup opening pointed down. Hot glue the single egg cup between the two three piece egg cups to create one long 7 cup piece. Ask a grown up to use a pair of scissors to carefully poke a slit into the top of each egg cup.

  3. Paint the egg cups brown. Let dry.

  4. For the craft sticks, paint one black, three green and three red. Paint both sides and add another coat if you prefer. Let dry.

  5. Cut out simple flame shapes from yellow construction paper, large enough to fit at the top of each craft stick. Cut out smaller versions from orange construction paper. You will need 14 of each color.

  6. Glue the yellow flames to the tops of the craft stick candles, one on each side so that the project can be viewed on both sides. Glue the orange flames to the yellow flames.

  7. Insert the craft stick candles into the egg cup slits that someone helped create for you in step 2. The black candle goes in the middle, the red candles on one side and the green on the other.

Tips:

  • For smaller children, instead of making the flames from two colors of construction paper, simply use yellow and let them draw on the orange part with crayons or markers.

  • During each day of Kwanzaa, a new candle is lit. The first is the black candle, followed by the green and the red, alternating a different one each day.

  • Craft foam is a great substitute for construction paper if you are running low.

Your final product should look something like this:

[instructions & photo taken from kaboose.com]


Blessings,

Sherisa
http://lelephantrose.etsy.com
http://lelephantrose.net

1 comment:

simone said...

What a cool idea. Happy Kwanzaa