Discovering the African American Holiday Celebrated in December

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Discovering the African American Holiday Celebrated in December

December is known worldwide as a month filled with holidays diverse groups of people celebrate. Among these holidays is one that has made its mark in African American culture, and that is the holiday of Kwanzaa. For those who may not be familiar with this holiday, this post seeks to share all you need to know about it.

What is Kwanzaa?

Kwanzaa is an African American holiday that was created in 1966 by Maulana Ron Karenga, an African American scholar and activist. This holiday is inspired by various African harvest celebrations and meant to celebrate African American heritage and culture.

The name Kwanzaa is derived from the Swahili phrase “matunda ya kwanza,” which means “first fruits of the harvest.” It is celebrated from December 26 to January 1 every year.

How is Kwanzaa Celebrated?

Kwanzaa is celebrated in various ways in different communities. However, there are some practices that are common across the board.

The holiday is marked by the lighting of a Kinara, a candle holder with seven candles. These candles represent the seven principles of Kwanzaa, which are Unity, Self-Determination, Collective Work and Responsibility, Cooperative Economics, Purpose, Creativity, and Faith.

During the seven days of Kwanzaa, each day is dedicated to a specific principle. Families gather to light one of the candles each day and discuss the principle it represents. There is also an emphasis on the exchange of gifts and hand-made crafts, a feast of traditional African American dishes like collard greens, cornbread, and sweet potato pie.

The colors typically associated with Kwanzaa are black, red, and green.

Why is Kwanzaa Important?

Kwanzaa is important for many reasons, but most notable is its role in promoting African American culture, values, and traditions. The holiday serves not only as a way to educate about African heritage but also as a way for the African American community to come together and celebrate their shared cultural experiences.

It is also a way to promote the understanding and appreciation of diverse cultures for those outside of the African American community. It encourages people to learn and respect the traditions of others, promoting unity and equality.


In conclusion, Kwanzaa is a unique and special African American holiday that should be recognized and celebrated by all. Its principles encourage unity and respect for all cultures. As we all come together to celebrate during the holiday season, let us not forget to acknowledge the contributions of the African American community and their rich cultural heritage.

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