Kwanzaa is an African-American holiday celebrated between Dec. 26 and Jan. 1. It is a seven day holiday inspired by their ancestors, celebrated to strengthen family, community and culture.
Kwanzaa was first celebrated in America on Dec. 26, 1966. The word Kwanzaa comes from the African language Swahili, and it means “first fruits of the harvest.” Some decorations used are African baskets, cloth patterns, art objects and harvest symbols. The colors of Kwanzaa are black, red and green.
The most important things about Kwanzaa are the seven principles, which are unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith. The holiday goes on for seven days, and each day a new principle is celebrated. A candle is also lit each night on the seven-branched Kinara.
Families gather around and sing songs, tell stories and dream about the future. The last day is the Day of Meditation, and it ends with a feast of delicious international foods.
Some of the special symbols of this holiday are the mat, the unity cup and the flag. A poster of the seven principles are usually always around too. When people celebrate Kwanzaa they should come with a profound respect for its values, symbols and practices. One should not mix Kwanzaa or its symbols with any other culture.