Kwanzaa Celebration Emphasizes Community Unity And Sense Of Self

December 23, 2000

Source: Omaha World-Herald

On December 23, 2000, the Omaha World-Herald reported that the Rev. Larry Menyweather-Woods of Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church and his congregation are expecting roughly 200 people at this year's Kwanzaa celebration. "The weeklong observance will focus on 'positive reaffirmation, information, inspiration and fellowship,' Menyweather-Woods said. Each of the seven principles of Kwanzaa (unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith) is represented by a symbol: "crops (mazao), mat (mkeka), candleholder (kinara), corn (muhindi), gifts (zawadi), unity cup (kikombe cha umoja) and seven candles (mishumaa saba). The kinara hold seven candles - one black, three red and three green - that are lighted during a ritual to illuminate the seven principles of Kwanzaa. Three red candles are placed on the left and three green on the right. Each day one of the candles is lit, alternating from left to right." The colors are also symbolic-black represents the faces of the people, red represents their struggle and green stands for the future and hope that comes from their struggle. The importance of education and honoring ancestors is emphasized in the rituals. Menyweather said that Kwanzaa is a time for people to think about the best way to express themselves.