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How to Decorate Your Home for Kwanzaa

by April Sanders

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Kwanzaa decorations

Things You Need:

  • Mkeka mat
  • Red, green and black candles
  • Basket or bowl
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Kwanzaa unity cup
  • Bendera ya Taifa
  • African folk art and textiles

Kwanzaa is meant to be celebrated with family and friends as a way to honor the past and look forward to the future. One important part of celebrating Kwanzaa is decorating the home with traditional seasonal decor. Kwanzaa holiday decor incorporates traditional symbols of African American heritage, both old and new. For example, a kinara symbolizes the African American past, present and future while authentic African folk art is displayed to honor African American roots. Tribal masks, hand-carved statues and wooden fruit bowls from Ghana and other areas of historical significance throughout Africa are often displayed as meaningful decorative accessories during the holiday season as well as home decor all year round.

Decorating for Kwanzaa:

  1. Create a Kwanzaa centerpiece for the table. The karumu, or ritual feast that is celebrated on Dec. 31, is the most important part of the Kwanzaa celebration. Set out the items used for the karumu ahead of time. First, lay down the mkeka mat (made of woven straw or fabric). Then, place a candle holder on top of the mat with one black, three green and three red candles in it. Add a bowl of fruit and vegetables and the unity cup.

  2. Decorate your home in black, red and green. Tie ribbons around vases and candles. Throw a blanket in a Kwanzaa pattern or colors over your sofa. Hang streamers from curtain rods. Tie a bouquet of red, green and black balloons to your front porch to welcome guests.

  3. Display the Bendera ya Taifa on a wall. Traditionally, this flag should be facing east. If you don't have a flag, you can easily make one. Simply take a white piece of construction paper and divide it into three equal sections horizontally. Color or paint the top stripe red, the middle stripe black and the last horizontal stripe green.

  4. Arrange African folk art throughout the house. Display objects of African heritage in prominent locations, such as on your fireplace mantel, coffee table or in a curio cabinet. Hang tribal masks or beautiful textiles in traditional African patterns on your walls.

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