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The Kwanzaa Kinara

During Kwanzaa candles are placed in a special candleholder called the Kinara. There are seven candles (Mishumaa Saba) used, each representing one of the Seven Principles (Nguzo Saba) of Kwanzaa.

The colors of the candles are red, green, and black which are the colors of the Bendera (or African Flag). The Mishumaa Saba consists of a single black candle, 3 red and 3 green candles.

When putting the candles in the Kinara, the 3 red candles are placed on the left side. The 3 green candles are placed on the right. The single black candle is placed in the center and is the candle which will be lit first.

On each day of Kwanzaa a new candle will be lit as a symbol of the Kwanzaa Nguzo or principle of that day. The candles will be lit in alternating colors. First the black candle is lit, then the farthest left red candle, then the farthest right green candle, then the next red, then next green, then the last red, and then the final green.

The honor of lighting the candles depends on the family itself. As there are no rules as to who lights the candles, many families give the honor to the youngest child. Some give it to the eldest family member. And others share the duties, with a different family member lighting the candles each night.

Continued: Lighting the Kinara

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Related Articles:
The Kwanzaa Stamp
Did You Know? (Kwanzaa)
Lighting The Kinara
Kwanzaa Craft Projects, Coloring Pictures & Other Goodies
Seven Days of Celebration

Add Comment
richar dp horton from Florida, US
00:24 12/10/2010
I am a Progressive Christian and now that my Mother has pass I have pulled out the Menorah, and am now purchasing a Kinara to add to the Advent wreath that I place out every year so that I can now embrace All Christmas Traditions. I want to thank you for having the proper Lighting information online. Namaste
DeBorah Smith from Ghana
13:04 12/05/2010
Dr. Maulana Karenga is the founder and author of many books and how to celebrate Kwanzaa and all you need to know. Educate yourselves on Kwanzaa. It is more meaningful than getting debt buying meaningless gifts for one day. Maulana Karenga is the founder of Kwanzaa and he have many books the one I refer to is "A Celebration of Family, Community and Culture. Find at Borders Books, Barnes and Nobles or the Library. Happy Holidays!!!!
LaToya Simpson from Mississippi, US
18:51 10/16/2010
I want to start my family celebrating Kwanzaa but I am not sure how to get started. Please help me.
17:39 06/01/2010
This is Really nice , interesting . My name is Kinara years ago I heard a statement around Kwanzaa (kinara). Didnt know I was named after a candle holder!
jenna from Texas, US
13:12 12/10/2009
this is kewl,but you need 2 have more info. on the kinara's candles

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