Holiday Recipes: Kwanzaa

December 7, 2021

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Recipes to Celebrate Kwanzaa

Kwanzaa is celebrated starting on December 26th until January 1st. The word Kwanzaa is a Swahili word that means “first”. Kwanzaa celebrates the first fruits of harvest, and is celebrated by many people of African descent in America. The kinara, a seven-space candle holder, is a symbol of Kwanzaa, representing the stalk where the people of Africa originated from. Fasting is a custom of Kwanzaa, along with a candle lighting ceremony where all members of the family are present. Kwanzaa is centered around seven principles, so three candles are red which represent the struggle, three are green representing the land and hope, and one of the candles in black which represents the people of African descent.

Food is a big part of celebrating Kwanzaa. Kwanzaa food does not follow any rules, and is mostly based in family tradition. 

Here are a few recipes you can try out to help celebrate Kwanzaa:

  • Fried Okra. Fried Okra is a southern tradition that people enjoy during celebrations. This recipe only includes a few ingredients and takes a total of 30 minutes to make! The recipe also includes instructions on how to best prepare and cook your okra. 
  • Jollof Rice. Jollof Rice is a dish from West Africa that typically includes long grained rice, vegetables, and spices. This recipe requires more time but is a traditional and delicious dish.
  • Sweet Potato-Apple Pone. Sweet Potato Pone is a custard-like dish that is baked and is typically served during the holidays in the Caribbean and parts of the American South. It is usually served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
  • Chicken Yasa. Chicken Yasa is a dish that is popular throughout West Africa. It is typically spicy and prepared with onions and marinated chicken. This dish can also be prepared with fish or even lamb!
  • Fried Plantains. Fried plantains, or Dodo, are a staple dish in Nigerian cuisine. They can be fried, grilled, or boiled, and can be made sweet or savory! Fried plantains can be customized, and only take about 40 minutes to be prepared.

Kwanzaa is a non-religious holiday designed to bring together family and friends to celebrate. One way this can be accomplished is through food! 

Do you celebrate Kwanzaa? Let us know by emailing us at!



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