U.S. # 4845
2013 46¢ Kwanzaa
As December 26th approaches, African-American families select their best fruits and vegetables. They also gather symbols of their ancestry, especially a kinara (candle holder), to celebrate Kwanzaa. It is a time to reflect on the past while reinforcing the bonds of unity in families and communities.
The name for the seven-day festival means “first fruits” in Swahili and is reminiscent of African harvest festivals. A straw or cloth mkeka, or mat, represents African-American history and culture. Other elements of the Kwanzaa observance are laid on the mat. Fresh fruits, vegetables, and nuts arranged on the mkeka are reminders of what can be accomplished when people work together. They are also signs of thanksgiving for prosperity.
The muhindi (corn) represents the promise of the future. An ear of corn is placed on the mat for each child in the family. If there are no children in the home, two ears are positioned for the youth in the community who need guidance and support from adults.
Kwanzaa is a time to make a renewed commitment of working together to strengthen African-American culture. By applying the holiday’s principles, communities can accomplish the goal of Dr. Maulana Karenga, the celebration’s creator, “to constantly bring good into the world.”
The Kwanzaa stamp (with artwork by artist R. Gregory Christie) shows a man, woman, and child in traditional African clothing celebrating Kwanzaa. The seven candles represent the principles of the holiday. The open book symbolizes knowledge.
Value: 46¢ 1-ounce first-class letter rate
Issued: November 26, 2013
First Day City: Philadelphia, PA
Type of Stamp: Commemorative
Printed by: Ashton Potter USA Ltd.
Method: Offset printing in sheets of 160 in 8 panes of 20
Perforation: Serpentine Die Cut 11
Quantity Printed: 7,000,000 stamps
In 1996, the U.S.P.S. introduced the Holiday Celebrations series, honoring different cultural and ethnic holidays. The first U.S. Kwanzaa stamp was issued the following year. Click here to learn more about the Kwanzaa stamp series.