Kinara

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A woman lights kinara candles on a table decorated with the symbols of Kwanzaa.

The kinara is the candle holder used in Kwanzaa celebrations in the United States. During the week-long celebration of Kwanzaa, seven candles are placed in the kinara - three red on the left, three green on the right, and a single black candle in the center. The word kinara is a Swahili word that means candle holder.

The seven candles represent the Seven Principles (or Nguzo Saba) of Kwanzaa. Red, green, and black are the symbolic colors of the holiday.

During the week of Kwanzaa, a new candle is lit on the kinara each day. The center black candle is lit first, and the lighting alternates between the red and green candles beginning with the outermost red candle and moving towards the center. In this way each day of Kwanzaa is dedicated to the contemplation of one of the Seven Principles.

Each of the candles also have a meaning.The black one symbolizes African race, red stands for African bloodshed, and green stands for the land of Africa.