UMOJA (UNITY) (oo-MOE-jah) - To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race.
KUJICHAGULIA (SELF DETERMINATION)
(koo-jee-cha-goo-LEE-ah) - To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves and speak for ourselves.
UJIMA (COLLECTIVE WORK AND RESPONSIBILITY)
(oo-JEE-mah) - To build and maintain our community together and to make our brothers' and sisters' problems our problems and to solve them together.
UJAMAA (COOPERATIVE ECONOMICS) (oo-JAH-mah) - To build and maintain our own stores, shops and other businesses and to profit together from them.
NIA (PURPOSE) (nee-AH) - To make as our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
KUUMBA (CREATIVITY) (koo-OOM-bah) - To do always as much as we can, in the way that we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than when we inherited it.
IMANI (FAITH) (ee-MAH-nee) - To believe with all our hearts in our parents, our teachers, our leaders, our people and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.
The seven candles represent the Seven Principles (Nguzo Saba) on which the
First-Born sat up our society in order that our people would get the maximum from it. They are Umoja (Unity); Kujichagulia (Self-Determination); Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility); Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics); Nia (Purpose); Kuumba (Creativity), and Imani (Faith).
KIKOMBE CHA UMOJA
The Unity Cup symbolizes the first principle of Kwanzaa. It is used to pour the libation for our ancestors; and each member of the immediate family or extended family drinks from it in a reinforcing gesture of honor, praise, collective work and commitment to continue the struggle began by our ancestors.
The ear of corn represents the offspring or product (the children) of the stalk (the father of the house). It signifies the ability or potential of the offsprings, themselves, to become stalks (parents), and thus produce their offspring - a process which goes on indefinitely, and insures the immortality of the Nation. To illustrate this, we use as many ears of corn as we have children which again signifies the number of potential stalks (parents).
The Mkeka is a straw mat on which all the other items are placed. It is a traditional item and therefore symbolizes tradition as the foundation on which all else rests.
The Kinara is a candle-holder which holds seven candles and represents the original stalk from which we all sprang. For it is traditionally said that the First-Born is like a stalk of corn which produces corn, which in turn becomes stalk, which reproduces in the same manner so that there is no ending to us.