What is Kwanzaa and How is it Celebrated?

Kwanzaa is an African-American cultural observance that falls in the month of December. In the United States, it was created by Maulana Karenga in 1966 as an alternative to Christmas and Hanukkah. It celebrates the African harvest and key cultural values. Kwanzaa was created with the intention of greater representation of African-American culture and history. The first Kwanzaa celebration was held on December 26th, 1966, and continues to be celebrated today. It is now recognized as a time to cherish and celebrate by African-Americans across the world.

Happy Kwanzaa from Sponge & Sparkle! We strive to promote cultural awareness and celebrate with our diverse community in Atlanta, Georgia, and nearby areas. Keep reading to learn more about Kwanzaa and its celebrations!

The Definition of Kwanzaa

Kwanzaa is a seven-day African American holiday that celebrates family, community, and culture. It is typically observed from December 26 to January 1st. The name Kwanzaa comes from the Swahili phrase "matunda ya kwanza" which translates to "first fruits of the harvest". Kwanzaa was coined in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga as a way to bring African Americans together after the Watts Riots and tough times fighting against racial inequality and discrimination. Together, families celebrate Kwanzaa and their culture by cleaning and decorating their homes, exchanging gifts, and spending time with loved ones.

The History of Kwanzaa

On each day, one of the seven principles is honored through an activity related to its meaning. For example, on December 27th the principle of unity is celebrated with a feast. On December 31st, self-determination is honored with cleanliness rituals. It is historically significant as it encourages African Americans to appreciate and bask in their heritage and culture, regardless of where they may now live. This is meaningful as they faced many struggles and were often discriminated against. Basically, it gives them an opportunity to celebrate all that they have overcome as a community, as well as motivation to continue the legacy.

What Are The Seven Principles For Living

As aforementioned, Kwanzaa is a seven-day African American holiday, and each day focuses on one of the seven key principles. The seven principles of Kwanzaa are unity, self-determination, collective work, responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith.

Celebrating Kwanzaa

People celebrate Kwanzaa by lighting a kinara, a candle holder with seven candles. On the first day of Kwanzaa, a black candle is lit in the center of the kinara followed by three red candles on the left side and three green candles on the right side. This is especially important for the virtuous occasion. They also exchange gifts, decorate with colors that represent the holiday (black, red, and green), and enjoy a delicious feast.

Cleaning for Kwanzaa

Before Kwanzaa can begin, you need to make sure your home is clean and decorated. After all, this is a time to celebrate! Start by giving your home a good cleaning. Use a checklist like the one below:

  • Wipe down furniture and vacuum sofas.
  • Vacuum all of your carpets. Move the furniture out of the way when you vacuum.
  • Clean your rugs. Move your area rugs out of the way so that you can clean the floors underneath.
  • Clean all hard surface floors.
  • Wash down the baseboards.
  • Vacuum and wash downstairs, including spindles.
  • Clean the floors in your closets.
  • Start from top to bottom, dust ceilings, corners, ceiling fans, etc. to remove dust and cobwebs.
  • Wipe down picture frames. Clean glass surfaces and TV screens. Dust off lamps and lampshades. Hand-wipe knick knacks and decorations.
  • Wash your bed linens. Place warm and clean linens on all beds.
  • Clean the mirrors in your bathroom.
  • Scrub the inside and outside of the toilets.
  • Clean the shower and tub, including the tile and grout.
  • Wash the bathroom floors.
  • Wash bath rugs.
  • Scrub all sinks, including drains.
  • Clean countertops, removing and wiping down all items.
  • Washing down all kitchen appliance interiors and exteriors and countertops. This includes but is not limited to microwaves, refrigerators, toasters, air fryers, and so on.
  • Wipe down cabinet fronts.
  • Mop the floors.
  • Scrub stovetop and drip pans.
  • Wash windows, windowsills, woodwork, molding, and trim.
  • Wipe down all doors.

This list covers nearly every corner of your home. You may be thinking about how daunting this checklist seems and how a lot of these areas in your home have not been cleaned for a while or at all. If you are caught up with other preparations or realize your home could benefit from a deep cleaning, Sponge & Sparkle, your local residential and commercial cleaning service, is here to help!

Decorating for Kwanzaa

Once your home is clean, you can start decorating. To celebrate Kwanzaa, many people clean their homes and decorate them with African symbols. One popular decoration is the kinara, which is a seven-branched candelabra. Each branch represents one of the seven principles of Kwanzaa. Other decorations include colorful clothes, fruits, vegetables, and grains. Many people use red, black, and green to decorate for Kwanzaa.

These colors represent different aspects of African culture. Red represents the blood that was shed during the struggle for freedom, black represents the African people, and the green represents the growth and prosperity of Africa. You can use these colors in any way you like - whether that be through traditional decorations like candles or through more modern decorations like hanging banners or streamers.

Contact Us!

Need a home cleaning before Kwanzaa or the holiday season? You know who to call!

Sponge & Sparkle values consistent, quality service and trustworthy business practices. You can have peace of mind that your home will be well taken care of with us. If you reside in Atlanta, Georgia, or nearby areas, contact us today at (404) 633-9652 to sparkle up your living space. Our cleaners will leave it dazzling! Meanwhile, you and your loved ones can enjoy the observances and holiday season this winter with fewer chores.

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