Other Kwanzaa



Kwanzaa Candles

When is Kwanzaa? Runs December 26 Through January 1

Kwanzaa is an African American holiday celebrating history, culture, family, and community. The name derives from the Swahili phrase “Matunda ya Kwanzaa”, which translates into English as “first fruits”.

The roots of this holiday go back to West and Southeast Africa. Located in the Southern Hemisphere, it was a celebration of the harvest festival. 

Focusing on values, culture, and history, Kwanzaa encourages people to learn more about their roots and to focus on their values.

The Symbols of Kwanzaa

There are seven symbols or values:

MazaoThe CropsHarvest celebrations and rewards of labor
MkekaThe MatSymbolic of African American History
KinaraThe Candle HolderRepresents African American roots
MuhindiThe CornA symbol of children
Mishumaa SabaThe seven CandlesRepresents the seven principles and the seven days of the holiday
Kikombe cha UmojaThe Unity CupSymbolizing unity
ZawaiThe GiftsLove of parents for children and children for parents
Additional symbols:  
BenderaThe FlagSymbolizes the hope for the future
Nguzo Saba PosterSymbolizes the hope for the futurePoster of the Seven principles

Today's Quote

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter.” – – Martin Luther King Jr.

Fredrick Douglass

History and Origin of Kwanzaa

Kwanzaa was started in California in 1966. It was created by scholar-activist Dr. Maulana Karenga after the Watts riots in Los Angeles. Matunda ya  Kwanzaa is now celebrated all over the world, but primarily in the U.S., Africa, and the Caribbean.

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