kwanzaa Kwanzaa is an African-American cultural holiday which originated in 1966. Created by Dr. Maulana Karenga, Kwanzaa is celebrated from Dec. 26 - Jan. 1. Each day of the celebration focuses on one of seven principles ("Nguzo Saba"). The name, "Kwanzaa", is taken from the Swahili phrase "matunda ya kwanza" which means "first fruits."
What is Kwanzaa?
  • When is Kwanzaa celebrated?
    December 26 - January 1

  • When was the first Kwanzaa celebration?
    December 1966

  • Who started Kwanzaa?
    Kwanzaa was created and developed by Dr. Maulana Karenga.

  • Is Kwanzaa a religious holiday?
    No, Kwanzaa is an African-American cultural holiday.

  • What are the seven principles?
    The seven principles (Nguzo Saba) are: Unity (Umoja), Self-determination (Kujichagulia), Collective Work and Responsibility (Ujima), Cooperative Economics (Ujamaa), Purpose (Nia), Creativity (Kuumba), and Faith (Imani).

  • Are there established rituals for celebrating Kwanzaa?
    Yes. For more information on related rituals, visit the Kwanzaa Information Center at Melanet (excellent site).

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