January, 17, 2014

Celebrate a Joyous Kwanzaa with African-Inspired Décor

Every year, Kwanzaa gives families the opportunity to celebrate their African heritage and the guiding principles that enrich our lives. Because the holiday lasts for seven days and doesn’t start until after Christmas, it’s the perfect time to redo your domestic decor and keep the Kwanzaa spirit alive until you ring in the New Year.

Colors and Textures

Table linen is a sensible place to start with your Kwanzaa decor, because color plays such a critical role in this holiday. For example, tradition includes the lighting of a seven-candle kinara over the course of the week, with candles in black, red and green. Incorporating these colors in your decor complements the kinara—your table linen arrangement, for example, may include mixed-and-matched cloth napkins in those three colors.

If you want to create a more subtle effect, choose table linen and decor in more natural colors. Shades of amber, gold and brown, for example, all complement each other while evoking the natural colors of Africa. Focus on introducing different natural textures, as well, such as artisan leather and wicker. By combining various colors and textures—both in your table linen and elsewhere—you can embrace the handmade, natural African tradition.

The Message of Kwanzaa

The number seven is a major part of Kwanzaa tradition—the holiday is seven nights long, the kinara holds seven candles, and we celebrate seven different guiding life principles, including Ujima (collective work and responsibility), Kujichagulia (self-determination) and Umoja (unity and togetherness). When arranging decor, organizing like items in groups of seven—like votive candles and small objects of art—reinforces this significant number.

Not sure how else to visually embrace the holiday throughout your home? Fresh fruit is a common decor item, as Kwanzaa’s name actually derives from a phrase meaning “first fruits of the harvest.” Use abundant fresh fruits like apples, pears, grapes, oranges and bananas, as well as crops like corn, to signify the promise of a better tomorrow that is so central to Kwanzaa’s message.
Kwanza and the number seven is relevant due to the number of days celebrating the holiday
From colorful table linen to African-inspired art and more, decorating your home for the Kwanzaa holiday allows you to make African heritage and pride a central part of your celebrations.