This a re-post from last year, when I was inspired by Alterego909‘s online dissertation on Kwanzaa. Links are provided for the inquisitive….–the-symbols.html




On the unrolled Mkeka she set the Kinara
as she thought of her ancestors’ lives, 
of the events their pride had survived,
as to the candle Umoja she touched fire.

Lit the candle Ujima for work in the fields,
the reaping of African soil’s rich yields.
For the mazao she placed one ripe cassava,
millet, peanuts, squash, and fresh guava

On four ears of corn Muhindi’s flame shone,
Two for the children who were playing outside,
and one for the newly born daughter that died,
and one for the new life inside her, and growing.
Ujima, Ujamaa, Kujichagulia, and Nia
their candles will all burn bright
on mkekas woven with Nia and Kuumba
In every home in the village tonight

The Kikombe, traditional symbol of unity
and the Kinara which stand by its side
were cut from one block of fine ebony,
and fashioned with a woodcarver’s pride.

Soon her husband would return from the forest,
bearing fresh meat, and the smile that first won her.
Family would celebrate a bountiful harvest,
and their Imani, their Umoja, their honor. 


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