Tangy Murray show you how to arrange a dinner table for Kwanzaa, the African American holiday.
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How to Arrange a Kwanzaa Dinner Table
Sheila Bridges Holiday
Sheila Bridges: Author/Interior Designer
Sheila: If you’re celebrating Kwanzaa here’s a great table setting by then planner Tangie Murray that celebrates African tradition.
Tangie Murray: Pink Glove. INC.
Tangie: This table is my Kwanzaa table and Kwanzaa is an African American festival that takes place every year. It’s a none religious tradition but it actually starts the day after Christmas so it starts on December 26 and lasts for 7 days ending on January 1st. Each day of Kwanzaa represents a different principle and the principles are actually meant to be carried throughout the year so this feast is all about the 6th day of Kwanzaa which is Kuumba the them or principle of Kuumba is creativity so we try to bring in very creative elements to the table.
Some of our traditional African elements that are used on this table are the Kente Cloth which is this base cloth here that today I’m using as a runner and you can also use that as a full table cloth. Some people will drape it over a piece of furniture or possibly hang some on the wall and then here we have a straw mat that is called a Mkeka. It’s symbolizes a place to start building your future so that should always be the base of the Kwanzaa table.
Sheila: No Kwanzaa table is complete without a colorful assortment of fruit to symbolize a bountiful harvest but it’s the center piece of this table that showcases Tangie’s creative twist on the traditional.
Tangie: These candles are actually a Kinara which is a traditional Kwanzaa candle holder and the colors in the Kinara represent the color of the African American flag red, black and green. In the Kinara the black candle would represent the African people, green will represent a hope for the future and the red candles represent blood. On this table we have these figurines that a friend of mine was actually sweet enough to bring me back from Botswana representing African people and then just a twist on the traditional taper Absalom green pillars here and then some red pillars over here.
Sheila: Tangie represents the colors and organic textures of African culture with rich earthy tones throughout the table setting.
Tangie: There are also some other textural elements that I use such as these swade napkins and the wooden and straw napkin rings that you see around them. Even down to the glasses just going back toward earth tones and keeping it all very natural looking but warm as well.
Sheila: And the place card serve a dual purpose.
Tangie: Keeping in mind that a lot of people don’t celebrate Kwanzaa now. What I wanted to do is kind of use this night as a way to education and inform the people who are going to be joining me at my dinner each place card has a different Kwanzaa word or theme. Most of them tide back to one of the 7 days of Kwanzaa. And know the Kwanzaa tradition is the giving of gifts the Swahili word for this gift is Zawadi.
Sheila: To incorporate Zawadi on to her table Tangie found these beautiful silk journals to tie in perfectly with the theme of creativity. What better way for her guests to carry on the principle of Kuumba throughout the year.