Introduced in 1966, this spiritual, festive and joyous occasion emphasizes positive aspects of family, community and African-American culture.
Derived from the Swahili phrase "matunda ya kwanza" which means "first fruits", Kwanzaa is rooted in the first harvest celebrations practiced in various cultures in Africa. Each day of Kwanzaa includes Swahili greetings, prayer and song, with a focus on "the seven principles" (Nguzo Saba). Kwanzaa decorations consist of seven basic symbols including a hand carved wooden candleholder (Kinara) with one black, three red and three green candles.
As one of the seven principles, creativity (Kuumba) is a big part of Kwanzaa, and homemade gifts are highly prized. An ideal present encourages growth, self-determination, community pride and success. A culminating feast (Karamu) on December 31st is a much-anticipated day.