Kwanzaa Candles

by Jim Gerrish


A table is spread with a beautiful piece of African cloth. Then, the mkeka (mat) is placed down. Next the Kinara (candle holder) is placed on the mat. One by one, the Mishumaa Saba (seven candles) appear in the Shaman's hands and are placed in the kinara (candle holder).

The black candle, Umoja, makes its appearance first, from beneath a piece of African cloth (similar to, but not exactly the same color and patterns as the one you have used to cover the table). The cloth is shown on both sides, then the black candle appears in your hand. It lights itself magically upon your speaking about the light shining forth from the continent of Africa through its people.

Now, holding the black candle in your left hand, between your thumb and forefinger, the red candles begin to multiply from it towards your right (the audience's left) as you describe the principles of Kujichagulia, Ujamaa, and Kuumba. It is traditional to get the audience to repeat the African names of the candles as a way of learning and remembering them so they may be passed down to others. This you would do as each candle makes its magical appearance.

When all the red candles have appeared, you would place them one by one into the Kinara. Now you take the black candle into your right hand, between your thumb and forefinger. This time the green candles appear towards your left (the audience's right) as you name them and the audience repeats after you: Ujima, Nia, and Imani.

If there is interest in taking the effect further, there are the dried ears of corn, the cup of unity, and other African objects of art or literature which can be incorporated into the routine. Refer to the Reference Web Site provided for more information and ideas on taking this routine even further. I have just made a start by providing the candle production information in this article.

Kwanzaa Candles $5.00

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