No fabric is more associated with Africa than the vibrant colors of kente cloth. This fabric is instantly identifiable to African culture, and therefore is a big hit during Black History Month. Native to the country of Ghana, kente cloth has a strong spiritual value. It is a royal and sacred cloth worn only in times of extreme importance in Africa.
Kente is called 'the cloth of kings' and over time the use of kente cloth has become more widespread. Kente cloth is easily identified by its dazzling, multicolored patterns of lush colors, geometric shapes, and bold designs. Each color also has a symbolic meaning:
- Black - Maturation, intensified spiritual energy
- Blue - Peacefulness, harmony and love
- Green - Vegetation, planting, harvesting, growth, spiritual renewal
- Gold - Royalty, wealth, high status, glory, spiritual purity
- Grey - Healing and cleansing rituals; associated with ash
- Maroon - Mother earth; associated with healing
- Pink - Feminine aspects of life; a mild, gentle aspect of red
- Purple - Feminine aspects of life; usually worn by women
- Red - Political and spiritual moods; bloodshed, sacrificial rites and death
- Silver - Serenity, purity, joy; associated with the moon
- White - Purification, sanctification rites and festive occasions
- Yellow - Preciousness, royalty, wealth, and fertility
African legend has it that kente was first made by two friends who went hunting in a forest and found a spider making its web. The friends watched the spider for two days then returned home and implemented what they had seen.