Kinara | mkeka | cup | mishumaa saba


The Strong National Museum of Play

The Strong National Museum of Play

With "Kwanzaa" clearly etched over an outline of the African continent, this kinara - the traditional candelabrum used to celebrate the holiday - suggests something of the purpose of the Kwanzaa celebration. Observed over a period of seven days immediately following Christmas, from December 26th through January 1st, Kwanzaa borrows from the harvest rituals of various African cultures to create a uniquely American celebration. Maulana Karenga created the holiday in 1966, at the beginning of the Black Power Movement. Karenga and other black nationalists wanted African-Americans to understand how their culture differed from that of Americans whose ancestors came from Europe. Karenga believed that, if black Americans could reclaim their African heritage, the social and political changes necessary for the improvement of their lives would follow. Therefore, Karenga created a new celebration devoted to seven principle values, each represented by one of the candles in the kinara: unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, collective economics, purpose, creativity, and faith. Kwanzaa remained relatively obscure until a national promotional campaign in the 1980s helped dispel the fear that Kwanzaa would replace Christmas. By the time this kinara appeared, organizers claimed some 18 million participants.

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  • Title: Kinara | mkeka | cup | mishumaa saba
  • Date Created: 2001
  • Location: China
  • Subject Keywords: holiday, Africa, Kwanzaa
  • Type: Holidays and Celebrations
  • Medium: carved wood, wax, fiber, cloth
  • Object ID: 101.897