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Umoja Mat

Weave a decorative placemat to demonstrate the Kwanzaa principle of umoja or unity among people. Celebrate this modern holiday by reaching out to others.


Kwanzaa is a cultural celebration to help African-Americans remember their heritage. It is also a time of joy and sharing. The goal of Kwanzaa is to put the 7 principles into practice in their daily lives. During this week long celebration, families get together and reflect on cultural values. It is a time for reflection, joy and making promises for a better year. The African-Americans wear traditional clothing-a dashiki for the men (a shirt) and dresses for the women adorned with beautiful beads. The girls also wear a gele or turban about their head. They sing songs, tell stories and dance.
There are many symbols of Kwanzaa. The kinara is a candle holder. On each night of the celebration one of the candles in the kinara is lit. There are 3 red, 1 black and 3 green candles. The red represents the blood and struggles of Africa. The green portrays faith. The black stands for their skin color.