A new stamp design was released this week in America celebrating Kwanzaa. Kwanzaa is the annual Pan-African holiday, which takes place over seven days from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1. This is a holiday that brings family, community and culture together for many African-Americans. Children’s book illustrator and artist Floyd Cooper worked with art director Derry Noyes, who designed the stamp.
The stamp art depicts a man, woman and child adorned in a mixture of western and traditional clothing, paying tribute to the holiday’s focus on the contemporary African-American experience while also drawing on African roots. The family is gathered around a kinara (candleholder), the warm light from the seven candles (mishumaa saba) illuminating their faces. Several other important Kwanzaa symbols sit on the table — a few ears of corn (muhindi) and various fruits and vegetables (mazao); the kikombe cha umoja (unity cup); and the mkeka, a straw mat on top of which everything is placed.
Each year, millions of African-Americans gather with friends and family throughout the week of Kwanzaa to honor the holiday’s seven founding principles — unity (Umoja), self-determination (Kujichagulia), collective work and responsibility (Ujima), cooperative economics (Ujamaa), purpose (Nia), creativity (Kuumba) and faith (Imani). Each day of Kwanzaa is dedicated to the focus of one of these seven principles, collectively known as the Nguzo Saba.
To join in the celebration or learn more about Kwanzaa, here is a list of Kwanzaa crafts and activities for kids. Be sure to check out these amazing children’s books by Floyd Cooper.
I encourage you to check out this amazing list of Kwanzaa Books for All from Helping Kids Rise to pair with your Kwanzaa crafts and activities.