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5 Facts About Kwanzaa

Observed from December 26 to January 1, Kwanzaa is a relatively new holiday, first observed in 1966, celebrating African culture and identity.

  • The word “Kwanzaa” is derived from Swahili and translates to “first fruits of the harvest.”
  • The seven days of the Kwanzaa celebration correspond with seven principles: unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.
  • Seven candles are lit during Kwanzaa – the first one is black, the second is red and the third is green. The remaining four candles alternate between red and green. Red, green and black are the holiday’s symbolic colors.
  • Kwanzaa isn’t a religious holiday, but a cultural celebration of African heritage and togetherness.
  • Traditional Kwanzaa gifts center on learning, so books about African heritage and culture are appropriate.