Kwanzaa traces its origins to Africa and is celebrated across North America and other nations that have large populations that trace their heritage to Africa. The holiday begins on December 26 and continues until January 1. The main components of the celebration include family, community and culture. Kwanzaa was not designed to replace Christmas. In fact, many Kwanzaa celebrants also celebrate Christmas. The word “kwanzaa” is from the Swahili phrase “Matunda ya kwanza,” which means “first fruits.” Maulana Karenga, the professor who created the holiday in 1966, chose Swahili as the language associated with the holiday because it isn’t affiliated with a particular African region or tribe. At the heart of the holiday are seven principles that celebrants embrace and follow: unity, self-determination, collective responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith. Even though the holiday was created for African Americans, many other ethnic groups are inspired by the foundations of Kwanzaa and choose to join in the festivities.
News BriefsDecember 18, 2018