Kwanzaa History and Traditions

The Kwanzaa Holiday

The Kwanzaa Holiday: A Cultural Celebration

Unlike Christmas and Hanukkah, the Kwanzaa holiday is not a religious celebration. Kwanzaa was created as a means of identifying and affirming cultural traditions and principles within the African-American community. Celebrated for seven days, from December 26 through January 1, Kwanzaa is a gathering of friends and family where stories, customs, meals and decorations are shared in honor of a common history and shared future. Use The Kwanzaa Holiday Web Guide to learn about the founding of Kwanzaa and how you can celebrate.

Kwanzaa History and Traditions

Because Kwanzaa is a relatively new holiday, there are many opportunities for creating and fostering new Kwanzaa traditions. The following sites explain Kwanzaa history, including why it was created, the basic principles that go into the seven days of celebration and how you can customize your own Kwanzaa celebration.

Insights for Kwanzaa History and Traditions

  • Kwanzaa means “first fruits” in Swahili, the most widely spoken African language. Its name is meant to draw together all African people under the common celebration of the harvest.
  • If you want to learn more about the history and full celebration of Kwanzaa, "The Complete Kwanzaa: Celebrating Our Cultural Harvest" by D. Winbush Riley offers a thorough background .

Top Sites for Kwanzaa History and Traditions

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Kwanzaa Celebrations

This section focuses on the specific traditions associated with participating in, or hosting, a ... read more »

Kwanzaa Food and Recipes

Food plays a central role in the Kwanzaa celebration, particularly at the Karamu feast ... read more »

Kwanzaa Decorations

Bring Kwanzaa symbols into your home while honoring the sixth principle of Kwanzaa: ... read more »

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