Kwanzaa is a week-long secular holiday that celebrates African-American culture, history, and heritage. It consists of seven days of celebrations observed from December 26 to January 1. Dr. Maulana Karenga, professor and chair of Africana Studies at California State University founded Kwanzaa in 1967.
Although it is a modern celebration, its roots reach back centuries and have gained in popularity over the years. As a result, many homes, schools and public institutions across America and elsewhere now celebrate it every year.
Kwanzaa is primarily a celebration of family, community, and culture. The festivities are based on seven principles of African heritage or Nguzo Saba: Umoja (Unity), Kujichagulia (Self-Determination), Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity), Imani (Faith).
The festival symbols also include a mat (Mkeka) on which other symbols are placed: a Kinara (candle holder), Mishumaa Saba (seven candles), mazao (crops), Muhindi (corn), a Kikombe cha Umoja (unity cup) for commemorating and giving shukrani (thanks) to African Ancestors, and Zawadi (gifts).
To celebrate Kwanzaa, Printable Learning presents a free printable activity book featuring the seven symbols. You can use this activity book to teach your children about this festivity. Likewise, teachers can use this coloring worksheet as part of educational materials related to social studies and history.