Holiday Feature

Daily Guide for Observing Kwanzaa


Since Kwanzaa stems from the communal quality of African life, it is recommended that two or more people observe Kwanzaa together. On December 26, the first day of Kwanzaa, a special time is set aside, so family and friends can observe the Nguzo Saba, the seven principles. Many families set aside two days: the first, for quiet meditation of reassessment and recommitment, and the second, to honor and remember the ancestors. Others may plan, as I do, a program that includes reassessment, recommitment, and honoring the ancestors each day. Kwanzaa is a personal holiday, and each family must decide how they want to celebrate it. The following sample program may be used or modified for all seven principles and for each day of Kwanzaa. It contains the four essential elements of daily observance of the principles: welcome and entertainment, ceremonies and ritual, eating and entertainment, and farewell. Greeters include children as well as adults.

Opening statement by the host or the eldest person present
Libation to the ancestors
Harambee—Call to unity
Statement of the principle and its meaning

Lighting of the Candles
Historical application of the principle
Relationship of ancestors and the principle
Group pledges for the new year

Cultural Expression
Poem or music
Song or dance
Stories of the ancestors
Historical incidents

Eating and Feasting
Libation to posterity
Farewell statement


The Complete Kwanzaa:
Celebrating Our Cultural Harvest

by Dorothy Winbush Riley
Designed by Gloria Adelson/Lulu Graphics
$23.00 (hardback)
HarperCollins Publishers
ISBN: 0-06-01725-0
Information provided by the publisher.


Global Holiday Pageant

Introduction to Kwanzaa



This page created December 1998; modified November 2006