What is Kwanzaa?

Learn about the history of Kwanzaa

Kwanzaa is the Swahili word for “first fruits,” and just like a joyous harvest, it’s a time for celebration. Kwanzaa is a cultural holiday observed for seven days beginning December 26 and ending January 1. On each day of the holiday, families and communities observe one of the seven guiding principles of African culture.

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The 7 principles of Kwanzaa  

  • Unity
  • Self-determination
  • Collective work and responsibility
  • Cooperative economics
  • Purpose
  • Creativity
  • Faith

Neither a religious nor a political holiday, Kwanzaa is celebrated in the US as well as the world African community. It’s a time set aside to remember and celebrate African traditions and history and African-American customs. Kwanzaa is not meant to replace Christmas: In fact, some celebrate both occasions and believe Kwanzaa’s cultural emphasis on family and community reinforces Christmas messages of love and hope.