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Kwanzaa Stories

Kwanzaa is a seven day festival which celebrates the African American culture and history. It is a time of community gathering and reflection. Kwanzaa begins on December 26th, the day after Christmas, and continues until New Years Day, January 1st.

  • The Kwanzaa Story
    Each evening a family member, usually the youngest child, lights candles in a special candleholder (kinara) and discusses one of the seven principles of Kwanzaa.
  • Kwanzaa and the Nguzo Saba
    A message from the founder of Kwanzaa
    In its most essential understanding and ex-pression, Kwanzaa is a celebration of family, community and culture with each providing a context and commitment of common ground, cooperative practice and shared good…
  • Kwanzaa meditation
    Let us not engage the world hurriedly.
    Let us not grasp at the rope of wealth impatiently.
    That which should be treated with mature judgment,
    Let us not deal with in a state of anger…

Seven African Folktales for Kwanzaa

  • UMOJA (Unity):
    Anansi and his Sons
    When Anansi’s first son was born and Anansi and his wife, Aso were ready to name the child, the baby spoke up and said, “I have brought my own name with me. It is See Trouble.” Their second son also announced his name in this way. He was Road Builder…
  • KUJICHAGULIA (Self-Determination):
    The Three Tests
    Once, long ago three tigers came to Africa. They went to the country of the animals and made this terrible announcement.   “From now on, this land will be ruled by the Tigers. We are, after all, the strongest, fastest and wisest of all animals. Therefore, we are the only fit rulers.” they claimed…


  • UJIMA (Collective Work and Responsibility):
    The Great Drum
    The lion sent out a message for all the animals to come to a very special meeting.  Messengers went far and wide to spread the news of this meeting. As soon as the animals heard the message, they hurried right away to the council circle. It was about three weeks before they were all gathered. The lion was very disappointed…

  • UJAMAA (Cooperative Economics)
    The Feast
    There was a once chief who decided that he wanted to give a party for his entire kingdom. Everyone was invited. He would provide all the food and entertainment. The only thing he asked was that each family brings a gourd of wine. This would be poured into a huge pot from which all would be served. All the villages were buzzing with excitement. People were deciding what to wear and wondering what dances and stories would be performed. It promised to be a fabulous party…
  • NIA (Purpose)
    The Name of the Tree
    Once there was a terrible drought in the land of the animals. A kindly king came from over the mountain and planted a special tree. He told them that this tree would bear fruit all year round in any kind of weather. All they had to do to get the fruit was to speak its name. The name of the tree was Oowungalema…
  • KUUMBA (Creativity)
    Anansi Writes a Song
    A lion named Simba was ruler of a small kingdom called Korro. A traveling griot* came to his village to give a performance. He played the Kora and sang stories about great men and women and the deeds they’d done. He sang about things going on all across the wide world. The king and everyone around enjoyed the music very much…

  •   IMANI (Faith)
    The Collared Crow
    Once upon a time there were a man and his wife who had lived together for years, but they had no children to look after them in their old age. This was very sad for them, but they had no idea what to do about it. You can neither make nor order children, nor do they grow on trees. So, the only answer was to wait for a miracle which, in stories, still may happen…



S.E. Schlosser

S.E. Schlosser

S.E. Schlosser is the author of the Spooky Series published by Globe Pequot Press. She has been telling stories since she was a child, when games of “let’s pretend” quickly built themselves into full-length tales acted out with friends. A graduate of both Houghton College and the Institute of Children’s Literature, Sandy received her MLS from Rutgers University while working as a full-time music teacher and a freelance author.