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What should children learn about Kwanzaa?

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Quick Answer

Children learning about Kwanzaa should understand the roots of Kwanzaa, how it is celebrated and who observes the holiday. Kwanzaa has its share of critics, but since its origination in the 1960s, it has been gaining recognition in mainstream American culture, according to About.com.

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Full Answer

Kwanzaa was created to help African-Americans discover and bring forth the best of their ancient culture and current culture. The festival celebrates seven principles, which are known as the Nguzo Saba. These principles consist of umoja (unity), kujichagulia (self-determination), ujima (collective work and responsibility), ujamaa (cooperative economics), nia (purpose), kuumba (creativity) and imani (faith).

To celebrate Kwanzaa, a mkeka, or straw mat, covered by a kente cloth is placed on a table. Sitting on the mkeka are the cha umoja, or unity cup, and the kinara, or candleholder, that holds seven candles. The unity cup is used to pour a drink called tambiko in remembrance of ancestors. Traditional colors of Kwanzaa include black to denote the people, red to symbolize their struggles and green to represent their hope for the future.

Most people who celebrate Kwanzaa are African-Americans, although not all African-Americans celebrate the holiday. People from other cultural and ethnic backgrounds may also celebrate Kwanzaa.

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