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Kwanzaa Gift Baskets

Kwanzaa gift baskets can baffle those who are unfamiliar with the African American holiday observance. Anyone who does observe traditional Kwanzaa celebrations would appreciate a Kwanzaa gift from a friend who made an effort to offer a gift for a holiday they know little about.

Kwanzaa is not a holiday traditionally celebrated in Africa. It is a celebration which found its roots over forty years ago thanks to the help of a professor looking to unite the African American community. This professor began to study African cultures and initiated “first fruit” celebrations based on his discoveries. The word Kwanzaa finds its origin in the Swahili phrase, “matunda ya kwanza,” which translates to the English “first fruits.” Nguzo Saba means Seven Principles and these are represented on a Kinara (candleholder) which features seven candles. These principles are: unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith. Kwanzaa is celebrated from the 26th of December through the first of January and is not a religion-based celebration.

During Kwanzaa families are encouraged to study history. Books which tell the stories of strong African Americans would be wonderful to include in Kwanzaa gift baskets. They will help an African American family explore the history of black America and encourage younger members of the family to learn as much as possible about the struggles African Americans had in America.

The harvest is also an integral part of any Kwanzaa celebration. You can include in Kwanzaa gift baskets any fruits, nuts or vegetables. They will be symbols of traditional African harvest festivals which brought tribal communities together in Africa. Those festivals are a cornerstone of modern Kwanzaa celebrations and of Kwanzaa itself in that they encourage members of the community to come together and reaffirm their responsibility to their own society.

A mkeka is another thing to consider adding to Kwanzaa gift baskets. A mkeka is a straw woven mat. Usually these can be found made from a variety of materials, but often times, African Americans strive to find mats made of African products to remain in keeping with Kwanzaa traditions. This mat is a symbol of a foundation of history, tradition and culture upon which the gifts of the harvest are placed to remind African Americans to build a strong foundation upon which to build their lives.

Kwanzaa gift baskets can prove to be a bit of a challenge for those unfamiliar with Kwanzaa traditions. If you are able to learn a little about the cultural celebration of Kwanzaa, you will be able to give much appreciated Kwanzaa gift baskets.

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