Lighting the Kinara during Kwanzaa

“Lifting Up the Light That Lasts”

     The candles are lit according to the numbering of the Principles: Umoja (1); Kujichagulia (2); Ujima (3); Ujamaa (4); Nia (5); Kuumba (6); and Imani (7).  

     They are lit beginning with the black candle (Umoja). Then they are lit in alternate left and right, lighting from inward to outward. Thus, after the black candle, the red candle closest to it, Kujichagulia (2) is lit.  Next the green candle Ujima (3) closest to the black is lit. The sequence is followed with alternating red and green lighting until the last candle, the green candle, Imani (7) is lit.  

     The black is centered and lit first to stress the priority of the people. The red candle is lit next to show the importance of struggle. And the green represents the good future that is forged in righteous and relentless struggle. Thus, first the people (black), then the struggle (red), then the future (green) that emerges from the struggle.