The origins of Kente cloth date back to 12th century Africa, in the country of Ghana and the Ashanti people. The cloth was worn by Kings, Queens, and important figures of state in Ghana's society during ceremonial events and special occasions.
Each Ashanti king would create a new Kente design after close consultation with master weavers during his reign. This new Kente design had to be chosen with great care because its pattern and symbolic meaning would always be associated with this particular king.
The Kente cloth received its name from the term "kenten," which means "basket," because of the cloth's woven design. Each Kente pattern was unique and had its own name.
Weavers used vibrant colors and complex designs to portray the cloth's profound philosophical meaning. Kente cloths came to represent the history, philosophy, ethics, and moral values of Ghanaian culture.
Kente cloths are worn in the United States as a part of church celebrations and school graduation ceremonies; for Juneteenth, Kwanzaa, and other holidays; and as a means of connecting African Americans to their African origins.
The Kente Ceremony is a celebration that combines a rich African cultural heritage to the celebration of educational achievement among Baylor University’s graduates.