Kevin’s Kwanzaa Page
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Kevin can’t wait to set out the unity cup, light the candles, and dance, drum, and eat. It’s time to celebrate Kwanzaa!
[AUDIO LOGO] Vooks. [MUSIC PLAYING] Kevin's Kwanzaa. Chapter One, Ready for Kwanzaa. Hi. I'm Kevin. See the decorations I'm making? We're getting ready for Kwanzaa. That's a special holiday for my family. Mom says it celebrates her African American culture. Between 1619 and 1862, many Africans were kidnapped from their homes and brought to North America. They were enslaved and had very hard lives. Most slavery ended in the US in 1865. But African Americans have still been treated unfairly. Kwanzaa is a way for them to come together. They celebrate their shared African culture. Mom puts a mat on a table. I add the candle holder and candles. Mom adds fruits and vegetables. There's an ear of corn for each kid. Next comes the unity cup. Didn't I do a great job decorating it? We put out presents too. Now we're ready for Kwanzaa. The Kwanzaa holiday began in the United States. But parts of it come from old African celebrations. These celebrations were held when the crops were ready. The fruits and vegetables remind people of this. Chapter two, Lighting the Candles. Kwanzaa lasts for seven days, from December 26 until January 1. We light another candle each night. I can hardly wait for my turn. It's on the last night. Whoa. Grandpa goes first. Look at granddad. Tonight he lights the black candle. Wow. The candle holder has three red candles, three green candles, and one black candle. The candles are lit in a special order. Then grandpa explains the Kwanzaa word for the first day. Every day has a special word in Swahili. That's an African language. Grandpa's word means unity. Unity. That's sticking together as a group. [SWAHILI] the seven principles. [SWAHILI],, unity, [SWAHILI],, self-determination, [SWAHILI],, collective work and responsibility, [SWAHILI],, cooperative economics, [SWAHILI],, purpose, [SWAHILI] creativity, [SWAHILI], faith. The word Kwanzaa also comes from Swahili. Grandpa says sticking together is why Kwanzaa began. A man named Dr. Maulana Karenga created Kwanzaa in 1966. He wanted to bring African Americans together. He wanted them to feel proud of their shared African background, Hey there. Hi, neighbor. I guess it worked because I sure feel proud. Hi, Ken. Dr. Karenga created Kwanzaa during the Civil Rights Movement. This was a movement in the US during the 1950s and 1960s. African Americans gained many protections under the law during this time. Chapter three, Another Word Each Night. Wow. Somebody else lights the candles each night. I want to be ready for my turn, so I watch closely. Wow. Mom lights the candles on the third night. We talk about helping one another solve problems. Mom says maybe we can work together on my messy bedroom problem. Families might also share other activities each night of Kwanzaa. Some families have everyone drink water or juice from the unity cup. This is fun. My brother lights the candles on the fifth night. We talk about setting goals to help our community. Right now, I have two goals. I want to grow up to be a teacher, and I want to light the Kwanzaa candles. Most people who celebrate Kwanzaa live in the United States. They are part of the African American community. But people in other countries also celebrate. They usually come from an African background. Entrees, anyone like some entrees? The sixth night of Kwanzaa is my favorite. We go to a big party every year. I boom, boom with the drummers. Boom, boom, boom, boom. I stomp, stomp with the dancers. Stomp, stomp, stomp, stomp. I eat and eat. Boom, boom, stomp, stomp, stomp. The word for the sixth day means creativity. Creativity is an important part of Kwanzaa. People make their own decorations. They make Kwanzaa presents for one another. Boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. Chapter four, Finally, My Turn. Be careful, honey. It's the last day of Kwanzaa. I like opening my presents. But I like lighting the candles even more. Grandpa says my special word means faith. He says I should believe in our people every day. Hey, Kevin. That will be like living Kwanzaa all year long. The end. [MUSIC PLAYING]