Eco-Friendly Kwanzaa

With these step-by-step directions you can make a Kwanzaa candle holder and mat this holiday season.

The Seven Symbols of Kwanzaa Made Eco-friendly!

The Kinara, or candle holder, holds seven candles to reflect the seven principles which are the foundation of Kwanzaa. Use “kuumba” (creativity) to save environmental resources; instead of buying a kinara, make the candle holder from a 2′ x 4′ piece of wood or a piece of driftwood. Screw-in candle holders, which can be purchased in most hardware stores.

Mkeka, or place mats, are typically made of straw–an environmentally friendly renewable resource. Cloth is also an adequate, reusable substitute that you do not have to buy.

Mazao, or crops, include fruits and vegetables. Try buying organic foods that are free of unhealthy pesticides and fertilizers and do not harm the environment.
Vibunzi are ears of corn to reflect the number of children in the household. Try to buying organic corn.

Kikombe cha umoja is a communal unity cup. Find one you already have in your home rather than buying a new one to save environmental resources.

Mishumaa saba are the 7 candles, one black, three red, and three green. Try using beeswax candles that emits less soot, which is unhealthy and can damage your home. Also, make sure the candle does not have a hazardous lead wick.

Zawadi are gifts that are enriching. Kuumba (creativity) is greatly encouraged. Not only is Kuumba one of the seven principles, it also brings a sense of personal satisfaction and puts one squarely into the spirit of Kwanzaa.

Holiday Activity: Weave an Eco-friendly Kwanzaa Mat

Materials: Ruler, scissors, clear tape, black, red and green recycled construction paper.

Step 1: Measure and cut out a piece of black construction paper 8 inches wide and 10 inches long. Cut seven lines in the paper, leaving a 1 inch border all the way around the mat.

Step 2: Cut four red and four green construction paper strips 1 inch wide and 8 inches long.

Step 3: Weave a red strip and then a green strip alternately, going over and under the black mat frame. Keep the black border. Secure the ends of the strips with clear tape.

Step 4: Place your mat on the table and decorate with corn and other harvest foods. Enjoy!

By Kim Master, Care2 Staff


rene davis
irene davis5 years ago


Antoinette Harris

i love kwanzaa- the mat is a good craft for kids

Robert O.
Robert O6 years ago

Interesting. Thank you.