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The Kwanzaa Feast or Karamu

The Kwanzaa Karumu is traditionally held on December 31st (participants celebrating New Year's Eve, should plan their Karamu early in the evening). It is a very special event as it is the one Kwanzaa event that brings us closer to our African roots. The Karamu is a communal and cooperative effort. Ceremonies and cultural expressions are highly encouraged. It is important to decorate the place where the Karamu will be held, (e.g., home, community center, church) in an African motif that utilizes black, red, and green color scheme. A large Kwanzaa setting should dominate the room where the karamu will take place. A large Mkeka should be placed in the center of the floor where the food should be placed creatively and made accessible to all for self-service. Prior to and during the feast, an informative and entertaining program should be presented. Traditionally, the program involved welcoming, remembering, reassessment, recommitment and rejoicing, concluded by a farewell statement and a call for greater unity.

Delicious African American delicacies are prepared during the Kwanzaa feast. Traditional African, Caribbean and South American recipes add the spice. Even though the celebration and feast continue throughout the festive times of Kwanzaa but on December 31, the celebration takes altogether a different mood for the special feast called Karamu. The dining tables of well adorned homes look impressive with various spicy and delicious delicacies. This is the day when revelers get the opportunity to satisfy their healthy appetites.

Below is a suggested format for the Karamu program, from a model by Dr. Karenga.

Kukaribisha (Welcoming)
Introductory Remarks and Recognition of Distinguished Guests and All Elders.
Cultural Expression (Songs, Music, Group Dancing, Poetry, Performances, Unity Circles)

Kuumba (Remembering)
Reflections of a Man, Woman and Child.
Cultural Expression

Kuchunguza Tena Na Kutoa Ahadi Tena (Reassessment and Recommitment)
Introduction of Distinguished Guest Lecturer and Short Talk.

Kushangilla (Rejoicing)

Tamshi la Tambiko (Libation Statement)
It is tradition to pour libation in remembrance of the ancestors on all special occasions. Kwanzaa, is such an occasion, as it provides us an opportunity to reflect on our African past and American present. Water is suggested as it holds the essence of life and should be placed in a communal cup and poured in the direction
of the four winds; north, south, east, and west. It should then be passed among family members and guests who may either sip from the cup or make a sipping gesture. LIBATION STATEMENT.

For The Motherland cradle of civilization.
For the ancestors and their indomitable spirit
For the elders from whom we can learn much.
For our youth who represent the promise for tomorrow.
For our people the original people.
For our struggle and in remembrance of those who have struggled on our behalf.
For Umoja the principle of unity which should guide us in all that we do.
For the creator who provides all things great and small.

Celebration

  • Lauren Gorine (fiestentak)
  • Kukaribisha (Welcoming)
  • Kuumba (Remembering)
  • Kuchunguza Tena Na Kutoa Ahadi Tena (Reassessment and Recommitment)
  • Kushangilla (Rejoicing)
  • Tamshi la Tambiko (Libation Statement)
  • Tamshi la Tutaonana (The Farewell Statement)