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History | Celebration

Kwanzaa

Food | Stories | Sites


The Food of Kwanzaa

food graphic

Kwanzaa is an important time of the year for friends and family to pass on generations of good food and recipes that pay tribute to African-American heritage.

Kwanzaa celebrants spend their seven-day festivities preparing for the final feast, or "karumu," on December 31. This culminating spread of good food and fun includes African-inspired cuisine and ceremony.

The karumu room or venue might be decorated in the colors of black unity, red, black, and green. And the holiday table originally outlined by creator Maulana Karenga should include seven symbolic items:

  • a straw placemat (mkeka),

  • a holder for seven candles (kinara),

  • the candles (mishumaa),

  • a variety of fruit (mazao),

  • an ear of corn for each child in the home (vibunzi),

  • a unity cup (kikombe cha umoja),

  • and modest gifts (zawadi).

For more on food of the Kwanzaa season, see our related sites.

Sources: Associated Press, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, United Press International, San Francisco Chronicle, Encarta 96 Encyclopedia

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