Kwanzaa's Coming. Eat It Up!

Categories: First Bites, Food
U.S. Air Force via Wikimedia
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
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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