Habari Gani? This is the Swahili greeting given at Kwanzaa, the least known but fastest-growing of the winter holidays. When you greet someone with Habari Gani? you are asking “what’s the news?” Kwanzaa–meaning “first fruits of the harvest”–celebrates family, community and culture. Kwanzaa is celebrated for seven days, from December 26 to January 1. In the seven days there are seven principles that people aim for. Here’s the list in Swahili and English, plus free printable Kwanzaa lesson plans, Swahili worksheets, African crafts and games.
The seven Kwanzaa principles are–“umoja” meaning unity, “kujichagulia” or self-determination, knowing one’s self. Ujima means working collectively and being socially responsible. “ugamaa” refers to cooperative economics and bartering for the common good (instead of selfishly undercutting for one’s personal gain). “Nia” is sense of purpose and “kuumba” is creativity. Over it all is “imani” or trust and faith.
The symbols of Kwanzaa include seven candles or “mishumaa” in Swahili. There are 3 red, 3 green, 1 black cancle which together represent Kwanzaa’s seven principles. These are placed in a kinara, a candle holder, representing a stalk of corn. This ceremonial holder shows people grow in families from the earth. The Kwanzaa candle holders look similar to a Jewish menorah.. The “mkeka” is a straw place mat, recalling tradition and history. Placed on the mat are a variety of fruit, symbolizing harvest called the mazao. The “vibunzi” is an ear of corn. One is given to each child, celebrating the child’s potential (what they can become). The “kikombe cha umoja” is a cup of unity, which recalls the ancestors.
Children are given simple but significant gifts at Kwanzaa. The purpose is to develop creativity, potential and success. Gifts, in Swahili are called “zawadi.” Use these free educational resources to explore Kwanzaa. Habari Gani? Offers a wonderful history, perspective and collections of free printable Kwanzaa activities and African crafts. About Homeschooling has a large selection of free printable Kwanzaa lesson plans, games, Swahili puzzles and African crafts Kwanzaa.
ABC Teach has free printable Kwanzaa lesson plans for elementary subjects: math, reading, social studies, history and writing. Many are inter-disciplinary or cross-cultural. There are links for crafts, vocabulary, and more. Mr. Donn has developed a large collection of free printable Kwanzaa lesson plans Swahili worksheets and African crafts all focused upon Black or African American history. He has made many free printable lessons. Making Friends has free printable Kwanzaa lesson plans, crafts and African crafts.