As part of Kwanzaa celebrations, children can receive presents. The gifts are not typical of those given at Christmas, but are more geared toward learning or honoring heritage. Many kids get books, music, or garments. However, when I was shopping, I came across a unique Barbie that grabbed my attention.
The Kwanzaa Collector Barbie is a special edition doll that costs $38. The beautiful doll is draped in an African ensemble with long dark tresses. While $38 may seem a bit steep for a Barbie, reinforcing the beauty of someone's heritage and traditions through a doll can have a powerful impact.
Of course so can hearing positive wisdom from their parents, family and community, which seems to be part of the purpose of Kwanzaa. I was just happy to see Barbie branching out and celebrating a variety of cultures. Tell us what you think of the Kwanzaa Collector Barbie.
Although Kwanzaa is relatively new as far as holidays go — it was created in 1966 — the foods used to celebrate it are based on old traditions. The final feast of the holiday — the Karamu — showcases fruits and vegetables that symbolize the past and current growth of African culture. Old family meals are often served in order to share them with the next generation. Some of the great dishes that can be found on the Karamu table include Chicken and Sausage Gumbo, African Squash and Yams, and Fruits with Honey-Lime Sauce. To learn the recipes for these traditional family favorites, read more
Hanukkah and Christmas have come and gone, but Kwanzaa begins today. The Pan African holiday during which people celebrate their African traditions, family, friends and communities for seven nights starts today and continues through New Year's Day.
While many children learn about Kwanzaa in school, it can be fun to familiarize them with it at home, too. The board book My First Kwanzaa ($10), written by Karen Katz, is a beautiful way to introduce your children to Kwanzaa. The simple narrative and corresponding illustrations make it easy and entertaining for babes to learn about the week-long traditions.
And, even if you don't celebrate Kwanzaa, the seven principles that are revered can apply to anyone so make My First Kwanzaa a regular at story-time.