Gardening Tips and Highlights

Hanukkah & Kwanzaa

by Christine Yesko


Chanukah (Hanukkah), the Festival of Lights, celebrates the victory of the Jews over Greek persecution.

When the Maccabees, the leaders of the war against the Syrians, reclaimed the Temple, they only had one flask of oil to light the Menorah. Miraculously the Menorah stayed lit for eight days, thus the eight days of Chanukah, which begins on the 25th day of the Hebrew month of Kislev. To celebrate, you can decorate with arrangements featuring flowers in the traditional Chanukah blue and white. Line a walkway with votive candles leading up to a door, and place colorful dreidels and chocolate coins around the Menorah.

Kwanzaa is celebrated from Thursday, Dec. 26 thru Wednesday, Jan. 1, and was founded in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga. The cultural (not religious) holiday is an African American celebration of the values of family, community responsibility, commerce, and self-improvement. As Dr. Karenga says, “Kwanzaa is celebrated through rituals, dialogue, narratives, poetry, dancing, singing, drumming and other music, and feasting.”

It is based on Nguzo Saba, seven social principles: Umoja (Unity); Kujichagulia (Self-Determination); Ujima (Collective Work & Responsibility); Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics); Nia (Purpose); Kuumba (Creativity); Imani (Faith). Each of these principles is represented by a candle in the Kinara (candleholder). A black candle should be placed in the center of the Kinara, with three green candles on the left and three red candles on the right. Each day a candle in the Kinara is lit to celebrate the seven principles, beginning with the black candle in the center and lighting the rest of the candles from left to right.


This information was obtained from Kleins Newsletter.