Tech. Sgt. Jennifer Myers (above), 66th Air Base Wing non-commissioned officer in charge of the Military Equal Opportunity office, demonstrates a Kwanzaa ritual where she lights a candle in the Kinara. Photo by Christopher Myers
Tech. Sgt. Jennifer Myers (above), 66th Air Base Wing non-commissioned officer in charge of the Military Equal Opportunity office, demonstrates a Kwanzaa ritual where she lights a candle in the Kinara. Photo by Christopher Myers
U.S. Air Force via Wikimedia

Kwanzaa's Coming. Eat It Up!

Kwanzaa, celebrated from December 26 through January 1, celebrates the seven principles of self awareness: unity, self determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith.

It's a Pan-African compilation of harvest festivals that uses corn (to symbolize children) on a mat along with a seven-candle holder called a kinara. A communal chalice is used to share libation.

Kwanzaa is a word adapted from the Swahili language that means "first fruits of the harvest." A feast on December 31 called the Kwanzaa Karamu is a traditional part of the celebration. It is a cultural (not religious) celebration with no prescribed foods, but it celebrates dishes from the African continent and the diaspora. Here are some examples:

  • Fried Okra
  • Peanut Soup
  • Benne Cakes
  • Beef Stew
  • Sweet Potato Fritters
  • Fried Plantains
  • Collard Greens
  • Lamb Kebabs
  • Akara
  • Black Eyed Peas
  • Beef Stew
  • Vegetarian Stew

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