Arte Es Vida

Kwanzaa Kinara Ring by arteesvida
December 16, 2006, 11:28 pm
Filed under: Beading, Holiday Projects

The holiday of Kwanzaa begins on December 26th and lasts for seven days. “Kwanzaa” is a Kiswahili word meaning “first fruits of the harvest”. Each day focuses on one of the seven principles. The principles are: umoja (unity), kujichagulia (self-determination), ujima (collective works and responsibility), ujamaa (cooperative economies), nia (purpose), kuumba (creativity), and imani (faith). Each of these principles are symbolized with a candle on the Kinara. The colors of the candles also have a spiritual meaning. The red represents the struggle of the African-American people, and the black represents the color of the African people, and the green represents the earth that sustains our lives and provides hope, divination, employment, and the fruits of the harvest and the growth of African American peopleWhen research Kwanzaa in order to develop this project, I knew I wanted to create something that was true to the beautiful traditions of Kwanzaa. I wanted to incorporate the traditional colors, as well as the structure of the Kinara. This memory wire ring mimics the candle outlay on the Kinara, serving as reminder to the wearer of the 7 principles. It can serve as a zawadi (enriching gift) for a friend, family member, or even yourself!


Smaller seed beads (about size 10/0) in red and green

Larger seed beads (about size 6/0 to 8/0) in black and white

Wire cutters

Needlenosed pliers

Cut your memory wire to the number of wraps you want your ring to be…the one pictured above has three wraps. Loop one end of the memory wire around on itself, or add a memory wire bead cap, glue, and let dry. The Kinara has three smaller red candles on the left, a larger black candle in the middle, and three smaller green candles on the right, so string three small red beads, one large black bead, and three small green beads in a row. Use a single white bead as a spacer, and then continue with the pattern (3 red, 1 black, 3 green, 1 white spacer) until you fill up the ring. Loop the other end of the wire onto itself, or finish it with another bead cap.

Happy Kwanzaa!

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