Traditionally, during the Kwanzaa celebration, one candle is lit each day in recognition of seven principles. The candles are displayed in a special holder called a “kinara.” Here are steps to make one for your own home.


  • seven cardboard tubes (toilet paper or paper towel rolls)
  • scissors (optional)
  • tape or glue
  • yellow or orange tissue paper
  • paint (red, green and black)
  • paintbrush


    Each of the seven days of Kwanzaa is dedicated to one of "The Seven Principles of Kwanzaa," which are as follows:

    1. Umoja (oo-MOH-jah): Unity—to be as one with family and community;
    2. kinaraKujichagulia (koo-jee-chah-goo-LEE-ah): Self-Determination—to be responsible for ourselves; to be in control of our own destiny;
    3. Ujima (oo-JEE-mah): Collective Work and Responsibility—to work together to help one another for the greater good of the community;
    4. Ujamaa (oo-jah-MAH): Collective Economics—to build, maintain, and support businesses within the community, and to set and meet common goals through mutual support;
    5. Nia (NEE-ah): Purpose—to be responsible and to set personal goals that will benefit the community as a whole;
    6. Kuumba (koo-OOM-bah): Creativity—to support use of creativity and imagination to improve the vibrance and strength of the community;
    7. Imani (ee-MAH-nee): Faith—to have faith in the strength of the community, our families, and ourselves to strive toward the goal of reaching a higher level of existence for humankind.


    1. paintingMake sure one of your tubes is a bit taller than the others. If they're all the same height, cut an inch or two off of six tubes so that one is taller than the rest.
    2. Paint the tubes. You'll need three red, three green and one black (the tallest).
    3. Once the tubes are dry, glue or tape the tissue paper to one end of each tube to make the flame.
    4. Glue or tape the tubes together in a row, with the tallest tube in the center, to finish your kinara.

    Happy Kwanzaa!

Jill Sedita is an attorney, blogger and mother of two who is passionate about global education and seeks to inspire other parents to raise happy, healthy, engaged kids who embrace their global citizenship. She writes about how she enriches her own kids' education as they discover the world’s foods, languages, music, arts, crafts, festivals, and nature on Moms Gone Global, where she also provides links to educational sites and other resources useful to raising globally enlightened kids.

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