The celebration of Kwanzaa includes an acknowledgment and honoring of its seven principles, known as Nguzu Saba. Each day of Kwanzaa emphasizes a new principle, and the evening candle-lighting ceremony provides an opportunity to discuss the principle and its meaning. The first night the black candle in the center is lit and the principle of Umoja (Unity) is discussed . The principles include:
Kujichagulia (Self-Determination): defining, naming and creating and speaking for ourselves.
Symbols of Kwanzaa include:
Mazao (Crops): these crops symbolize African harvesting celebrations as well as the rewards of productivity and collective labor.
Mkeka (Mat): the mat symbolizes the foundation of the African Diaspora–tradition and heritage.
Kinara (Candleholder): the candleholder symbolizes African roots.
Muhindi (Corn): corn represents children and the future, which belongs to them.
Mishumaa Saba (Seven Candles): emblematic of Nguzo Saba, the seven principles of Kwanzaa. These candles embody the values of the African Diaspora.
Kikombe cha Umoja (Unity Cup): symbolizes the foundation, principle and practice of unity.
Zawadi (Gifts): represent parental labor and love. Also symbolizes the commitments that parents make to their children.
Bendera (Flag): the colors of the Kwanzaa flag are black, red and green. These colors were originally established as colors of freedom and unity by Marcus Mosaih Garvey. The black is for people; red, the struggles endured; and green, for the future and hope of their struggles.