What is Kwanzaa?

Kwanzaa is a holiday celebrated every year from December 26th January 1st to commemorate African heritage, culture, and values!

Kwanzaa was started by a professor named Maulana Karenga in 1966 as a way of uniting Black people to celebrate and remember the cultures and practices they have come from!

Kwanzaa is celebrated for seven days, with each day representing one of seven principles. Kwanzaa also has seven basic and two supplementary symbols such as the Kinara, a candle-holder that is lit during the holiday to represent African roots.

Those who observe Kwanzaa also do so by practices such as wearing traditional garments and exchanging gifts, particularly books and symbols of heritage!


How to say "Happy Holiday"!

If you know someone who celebrates Kwanzaa, the traditional way of wishing that person a Happy Holiday is to say "Habari Gani," which means "What's new?" in Swahili. In response, the person asked is supposed to reply with the Swahili name for the Kwanzaa principle of that day!

What other special greetings do you know for certain holidays??

Further Information

The Seven Principles of Kwanzaa have names in both English and Swahili, a language common in East Africa.

These principles are:
Unity ("Umoja"), Self-Determination ("Kujichagulia"), Community Work and Responsibility ("Umija"), Cooperative Economics ("Ujamaa"), Purpose ("Nia"), Creativity ("Kuumba"), and Faith ("Imani").

The symbols of Kwanzaa also have names in both English and Swahili. The seven basic symbols are Mazao (The Crops), Mkeka (The Mat), Kinara (The Candle Holder), Muhindi (The Corn), Mishumaa Saba (The Candles), Kikombe cha Umoja (The Unity Cup), and Zawadi (The Gifts). The two supplemental symbols are Bendera (The Flag) and Nguzo Saba Poster (Poster of The Seven Principles).