Kwanzaa is a weeklong celebration held in the United States and in other western nations celebrating with African communities.  Every year Kwanzaa is celebrated from December 26 – January 1st honoring the African custom in African- American Community.

Kwanzaa Celebration

People light a Kinara – which is a candle holder with seven candles and distribute gifts to each other.  It was first celebrated in 1966-67 by its creator Maulana Karenga.

Kwanzaa means “first Fruits”, Karenga said the word Kwanzaa is extracted from the Swahili phrase.  Swahili is a Bantu language and the phrase he denoted is “matunda ya kwanza” which means “first fruits of the harvest".

People celebrate Kwanzaa in their own way but they often include singing and dancing.  Everyone gathers at one place and celebrate this day by telling stories, poetry, playing African drums, and having a large traditional meal.  Given by its creator Maulana Karenga (generally called as Nguza Saba) Karenga mentioned that Nguza Saga or the seven principles of Kwanzaa are the best African practices and thoughts in continual give-and-take with the world.

The Seven Principles

  • Umoja (Unity): To do your best for and to preserve unity in the family, community, nation, and race.
  • Kujichagulia (Self-Determination):  To describe and label ourselves, in addition, to producing and voice for ourselves.
  • Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility):  To shape and preserve our community composed and craft our brothers' and sisters' difficulties problems our difficulties and to resolve them collectively.
  • Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics):  To maintain and construct our own businesses and to attain revenue from them together.
  • Nia (Purpose):  To make vocations collectively the constructing and rising of our community in order to reestablish traditional prominence.
  • Kuumba (Creativity):  Always do whatever you can, in order to make our tradition more gorgeous and valuable.
  • Imani (Faith):  To trust with all our hearts in our parents, our leaders, our teachers, our people,  and the morality and triumph of our struggle.

The symbols of Kwanzaa include mat (Mkeka), Mishumaa Saba (seven candles), a Kinara (candle holder), Muhindi (corn), mazao (crops), a Kikombe cha Umoja (unity cup) and giving shukrani (thanks) to African Ancestors, and Zawadi (gifts).  Other symbols include black, red and green flags (bendera), books and other African artwork which resemble the African culture unity and reinforcement.

How to Observe

Families, who observe Kwanzaa wear African cloths (kente), decorate their houses with African artifacts and fresh fruits,  which represent African tradition and culture.  Parents make their children to participate in the celebration to honor their ancestors.

The ceremony also includes music such as playing drums, performances by various artist, candle-lighting rituals, reading the African pledge and a feast (karamu).

Cultural exhibitions held at the John F. Kennedy Center include the Spirit of Kwanzaa, interpretive dance, songs and poetry and African dance.

Kwanzaa and its Popularity

According to the survey done by the National Retail foundation USA in 2004, it is found that 4.7 million people had planned to celebrate Kwanzaa.  In a 2006 speech Maulana Karenga mentioned 28 million celebrate Kwanzaa.  In 2009 the African-American cultural center had claimed 30 million people celebrated Kwanzaa.

Celebration has also spread across Canada, where their black Canadian population started celebrating Kwanzaa.  Similar celebration is also observed in Brazil.


Oktoberfest begins in Germany

2016 Oktoberfest begins in Munich; the Beer lovers from all around the world are ready to stream into the Munich's Theresienwiese for the start of this year's cheer with beer Oktoberfest. This is going to be the 183rd Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany.

What is Oktoberfest all about?

What is Oktoberfest all about?

The Oktoberfest began on October 12, 1810, to celebrate the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria, who later became the King Ludwig I. He married to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen, according to Oktoberfest de. The celebrations ran through October 17, for five days after the marriage. A large fest was organized in front of the Sendlinger Tor, one of the gates that lead towards to Munich. The celebrations were the highest moments for the people o Munich and the festivities included horse races which became later the Oktoberfest custom lasting until today since 1938.


While in the year 1811, an agricultural fair was added, and by 1818 beer pubs were started alongside with the performers. So starting from then, it became a great traveler attraction and a great opportunity for the visitors to learn more about Bavaria, its people, and culture.

Munich Oktoberfest is held in the month of September, as the weather is milder than the Octobers. The fest lasts for almost sixteen days, beginning on a Saturday in September and ends on the first Sunday of October. Already the horse racing was ended in 1938, the other events continued over the years with the exception of wartime.

Since 1887 lederhosen and dirndls are the traditional wear for the attendees. When the sharp dot hits at 12 noon on Saturday, September 17th, The Munich’s mayor Dieter Reiter will tap the first barrel declaring the "Wiesn“ - as per Munich people they call it-  officially open.  The fest begins with a parade, and then it’s the time you can see everyone with big beer mugs cheering each other.  You will see the City mayor and the other civic leaders, followed by a horse-drawn brewer’s carts, bands, and townspeople wearing the traditional costumes. The parade ends at the oldest tent at the Oktoberfest, the Schottenhamel Tent where the mayor starts the fest with the first keg of beer and then the toasting begins.  It is estimated that more than 7,000,000 people attended the opening ceremony.

The Schottenhamel Tent

The six major brewers of the Oktoberfest Maerzen beer in Munich will be found in the seven halls where there will be live music throughout the day and evening. Here are the six major brewers: Lowenbrau, Hacker-Pschorr, Hofbrauhaus, Spaten, Augustiner, and Paulaner.

You will find people dancing and screaming outside the beer tents, with the music, sideshows, carnival rides and lot of delicious German food serving.

While kids below the age six must leave the tents before; even they are in the company of their parents. For families you will find extra discounts on particular days, and everything will be served to eat like; wursts of beef, chicken, pork, veal, slices of beef, pieces of chicken, sauerkraut, variety of potato salads, cabbage, onions, and of course pretzels to be enjoyed with a large stein of favorite beer.

Happy Oktoberfest!!!


Homemade Musical Instruments

Some things you may have at home or might usually throw away. But you can make many interesting things with these throw away; and can recycle them to make great musical instruments that really work. After they're made, see what to do with them at bottom of page! Great Fun!!!

Drum Ideas

Things you need

  • Paper
  • Tape or glue
  • Cans - large coffee cans or any size
  • Any decorate paper
  • Crayons to color it up
  • Marker

Procedure to make a Drum

Cut a piece of paper and fit it around a Can with a plastic lid; you can use a large Coffee Can as it will work well or you can use any size of it. You can also use an empty plastic jug or wooden bowl turned upside down or metal pot. Once you fit the paper well you can decorate it using crayons & markers; or first you can make the paper look good with your designs and then fit it around the can using glue or a tape.

Bongo Drum

Cut a paper in two pieces and fit it around two cardboard oatmeal containers with lids. Now follow the same procedure to decorate the containers with a decorated paper or by making it unique with crayons and markers, and then attach the decorated paper around both containers with a tape or gum. Keep them aside to rest till the gum is all set and the containers are ready to use.

Now, set the containers side by side and tie them together using two long pieces of string or yarn. You need to tie one piece of string around the upper section of the container and the other around the lower section; then place a dab of glue under the string in multiple spots to make it hold in place. Now your Bongo drums are ready to play, Play your bongos by tapping on the tops with your fingertips.

Base Drum

This is going to be a very easy task, you just need to turn a cooking pan over and beat on the bottom of it with a wooden spoon.

Belt Drum

Collect a round box, such as a potato chip or an oatmeal box container. Now carefully make two small slits, about 2 inches apart just near the top of the box; and thread the box onto a child's belt or a shortened adult belt. And that way your belt drum is ready.

Once you are ready with your drums, it’s time for you to make drum sticks. Let’s look at simple ideas on how to make drum sticks.

Drum Stick Ideas

The best thing is to use your hands to tap on the drums, or a wooden spoon, a metal spoon, rubber spatula, whisk or a basting brush.

Take two unsharpened pencils with erasers and make drumsticks; or attach an empty thread spool on one end of the pencils and wrap a thick rubber band around one end of each pencil. Now it’s your turn to experiment with the variety of sounds and tones you can make.

Taping Ideas

Gather your friends while doing this activity and make all your friends tap together two wooden dowels. You can also put metal thimbles on each finger and tap them together. Or you can also use two metal or wooden spoons, two walnut shells, or two metal pot lids to tap.

Things to Scrape

Pancake flipper, metal grater, metal sifter or two pieces of sandpaper.

Things to Ring

Keys or set of metal measuring spoons, small set of wind chimes.

Things to Shake

Take a container of toothpicks, a container of nails or tacks or an envelope of flower seeds.