By Gloria Williamson
The kinara is one of the main centerpieces and symbols of Kwanzaa. Traditionally, seven candles called Mishumaa Saba, which represent the seven principles of Kwanzaa are placed inside the special candle holder called a kinara. Celebrate the seven days of Kwanzaa and learn how to make one. This arts and crafts activity is super fun and easy. It provides an engaging way to learn about African American culture, history, and community. Kwanzaa begins on December 26th and ends on January 1st, each day of the celebration represent a principle of the Nguzo Saba called The Seven Principles of Kwanzaa.
Day 1- Umoja (oo-MOH-jah): Unity; to strive for and maintain unity in our family, community, nation, and race.
Day 2- Kujichagulia (koo-jee-cha-goo-LEE-ah): Self-determination; to define who we are by naming, thinking, speaking, and creating for ourselves.
Day 3- Ujima (oo-JEE-mah): Collective work and responsibility; to build and maintain our communities and to solve our problems together by taking ownership of each others problems.
Day 4-Ujamaa (oo-jah-MAH): Cooperative economics; to open our own businesses and to maintain and profit from them together.
Day 5- Nia (NEE-ah): Purpose; To develop personal goals to restore our community and Black people back to their traditional greatness.
Day 6- Kuumba (koo-OOM-bah): Creativity; thinking and doing as much as we can to make our community more beautiful and our world a better place than we inherited it.
Day 7- Imani (ee-MAH-nee): Faith; to believe in each other and everyone around us despite our struggles and past.
- Seven cardboard tubes (toilet paper or paper towel tubes)
- Tape and/or glue gun
- Yellow tissue paper
- 3-Red, 3-green and 1-black construction paper or felt sheets
- Gold glitter
- 1 brown felt sheet size 12 W x 36 L
- 15 L x 2 W x 2 H box or mailer box
Step 1 -Start by cutting 1/2 inch off one tube to create a circle stencil.
Step 2 -Cut brown felt paper to 8.5 inches W X 15 inches L.
Step 3 -Trace seven circles 1/2 inch apart onto the felt paper horizontally.
Step 4 -Cut the seven circles out of the felt sheets or construction paper.
Step 5 – Trace seven circles 1/2 inch apart on top of the box. Remove the cardboard circles. *An adult should prepare step 5 of this activity in advance.
Step 6 – Wrap the felt onto the box aligning the circles.
Step 7 -Glue the edges of the brown felt paper sealing the felt sheet.
Step 8- Cut (2)-2×2 inch brown felt paper sheet.
Step 9-Glue (1)- 2X2 at each end of the box.
Step 10-Make sure that one of the tubes is taller than the other six tubes.
Step 11-Cut 2 inches off the other six tubes ensuring one is taller than the other.
Step 12 -Cut and wrap the tubes with the construction paper or felt sheets; you’ll need three red, one black, and three green. Glue or tape the construction paper.
Step 13 -Insert the tubes together into the box. The black in the center circle, the green tubes into the circles on the right and the red tubes into the circles on the left.
Step 14 – (Optional) To secure the tubes you can glue the tubes inside of the base of the box.
Step 15- Next, tape or glue one end of the yellow tissue paper inside each tube to make the flame of the candle.
Step 16- Write the word Kwanzaa onto the front of the kinara with glue. Then sprinkle with gold glitter or glitter color of your choice. Allow to dry. Then remove the excess, to finish your kinara,