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A Kwanzaa Dictionary

  • Bendera

    The African American flag originally used by Marcus Garvey.

  • Dashiki

    A loose-fitting shirt worn by men, or a blouse worn by a woman.

  • Habari gani?

    A Swahili greeting that means "What's the news of the day?"

  • Harambee!

    This is another greeting that means, "Let's work together!"

  • Gele

    An African headwrap worn by women.

  • Imani

    The seventh principle of Kwanzaa, which stands for believing and having faith in oneself, our ancestors, and our future.

  • Karamu

    The special feast of Kwanzaa that is celebrated wiith family and friends.

  • Kikombe cha umoja

    The cup of togetherness.

  • Kinara

    The candleholder that is lit during the time of Kwanzaa.

  • Kujichagulia

    The second principle of Kwanzaa, which stands for thinking, acting, and speaking for oneself.

  • Kukumbuka

    Remembering our ancestors.

  • Kuumba

    The sixth principle of Kwanzaa, meaning thinking of new ways to do things. It also means creating something with your own hands or mind.

  • Kwanzaa

    An African American holiday that celebrates African Americans and their history and culture.

  • Kwanzaa yenu iwe na heri!

    A greeting that means: "May your Kwanzaa be happy!"

  • Mazao

    The fruits and vegetables of the harvest.

  • Mishumaa saba

    The seven candles that are placed in the kinara.

  • Mkeka

    The place mat that is used on a Kwanzaa table.

  • Muhindi

    The corn that represents the children in the family. It is placed on the mkeka.

  • Nguzo Saba

    The seven reasons, or principles, of Kwanzaa.

  • Nia

    The fifth principle of Kwanzaa, which stands for purpose.

  • Saba

    The numeral seven.

  • Swahili

    An East African language spoken by many tribes. It is sometimes called Kiswahili.

  • Tambiko

    The pouring of the drink of ancestors; also called libation.

  • Tamshi la tambikio

    The words said when pouring the drink of ancestors.

  • Tamshi la Tutaonana

    This is the farewell speech of the main Kwanzaa celebration.

  • Ujamaa

    This is the fourth principle of Kwanzaa. It means buying goods and services from each other.

  • Ujima

    This is the third principle of Kwanzaa and means helping each other.

  • Umoja

    This is the first principle of Kwanzaa, meaning unity.

  • Vibunzi

    Another name for muhindi, the ears of corn which are placed on the mkeka of the Kwanzaa table to represent each child in the family.

  • Zawadi

    The gifts that are given on the last day of Kwanzaa. It is more important that these gifts come out of kuumba. These types of gifts are more meaningful than store-bought gifts.

 

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