Happy Kwanzaa!

This post comes from Culture Queen Jessica Smith. Jessica is the founder and lead teaching artist of Culture Kingdom, LLC, based in Washington D.C.unnamed-11

Hi! Culture Queen here! Kwanzaa’s my favorite holiday and it begins today. Kwanzaa is the 7 day African American holiday that celebrates of culture, family and community. Established in 1966 by Dr.Maulana Karenga this cultural holiday was expressly designed to affirm and celebrate African American history and culture. Kwanzaa takes place from December 26th-January 1st. Kwanzaa highlights the seven principles of the Nguzo Saba which are umoja (unity), kujichagulia (self-determination), ujima (collective work and responsibility), ujamaa (cooperative economics), nia (purpose), kuumba (creativity), and imani (faith). I’ve vetted over fifty Kwanzaa songs and in my opinion, “Seven Joyous Days” by Frank Smallwood is the very best one to sing with children. This festive song teaches the Kwanzaa principles in Swahili and English with a catchy rhythm. I highly recommend it because of its beautiful orchestration and most importantly, its culturally sensitive and phonetically accurate lyrics. You may download the album “Let’s Celebrate Kwanzaa” by Frank Smallwood on Amazon or iTunes.

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Seven Joyous Days

Music and Lyrics by Frank Smallwood

Celebrate Kwanzaa!

I want you to remember these principles we live by to keep our people strong!

Celebrate Kwanzaa!

I want you to remember these principles we live by to keep our people strong!

Seven joyous days, many festive ways.

Seven principles for each of every soul.

Time to reunite-uplift all the rights of the African American.

Celebrate Kwanzaa!

I want you to remember these principles we live by to keep our people strong!

Umoja, Umoja, I want you to remember umoja means unity to keep our people strong.

Kujichagulia, self determination to keep keep our people strong.

Ujima, ujima, I want you to remember collective work-responsibility.

Seven joyous days, many festive ways. Seven principles for each of every soul. Time to reunite!

Uplift all the rights of the African American.

Celebrate Kwanzaa!

I want you to remember these principles we live by to keep our people strong!

Ujamaa Ujamaa, I want you to remember cooperative economics to keep our people strong.

Nia, Nia, I want you to remember nia means purpose to keep our people strong.

Kuumba, Kummba, I want you to remember creativity to keep our people strong.

Seven joyous days, many festive ways. Seven principles for each of every soul. Time to reunite!

Uplift all the rights of the African American.

Celebrate Kwanzaa!

I want you to remember these principles we live by to keep our people strong!

Imani, Imani, I want you to remember imani means faith to keep our people strong.

Imani, Imani, I want you to remember imani means faith to keep our people strong.

Celebrate Kwanzaa

I want you to remember these principles we live by to keep our people strong!

                                                             

Culture Queen’s Kwanzaa Circle Activity:

Have the children stand in a circle. Tell them to pretend that they are the seven days of Kwanzaa and that each day celebrates a different Kwanzaa principle. Assign each student or a principle. If you have a large group of children, you may assign a group or section of students a specific principle to be more inclusive. When you sing their specific principle, have them step into the circle and dance. Since the song is repetitive, you may also have them learn their part of the song and sing that part with you. They can also sing the lyrics to their principle while dancing. Once that part of the song is complete, have them return to their spot on the circle. To give the activity a little healthy competition: challenge the students to see which principle will be best represented by having the most Kwanzaa spirit. Explain to the students that having Kwanzaa spirit means taking pride in their principle by singing loudly and clearly and dancing with lots of energy. This is just one of the ways to have Kwanzaa fun.

To learn more fun ways to celebrate Kwanzaa, visit my activities page, here.

 

A Note on Teaching About Kwanzaa:

Because Kwanzaa is a contemporary holiday, there are many misconceptions about it purpose and origins. I’ve found that there are an abundance of Kwanzaa songs that are not historically accurate or culturally sensitive. I highly recommend visiting the official Kwanzaa website here, to learn more in preparation for the questions you may get after singing this song in your program. As a Kwanzaa facilitator, I would love to answer any questions you might have about the holiday or how to celebrate it. You may contact me at

jessica@culturekingdomkids.com or visit www.culturekingdomkids.com.

Have a very Happy Kwanzaa!

Love Royally,

Culture Queen

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