Kwanzaa is a tribute to African heritage and traditions
Fifty years ago, December 26th marked the first time that Kwanzaa was celebrated. Kwanzaa ("matunda ya kwanza" meaning "first fruits" in Swahili) is a tribute to African heritage and traditions, and is a week-long celebration around family, community, and culture that takes place from December 26th to January 1st.
The holiday was created during the American black nationalist movement during the 1960s. Dr. Maulana Ndabezitha Karenga (born Ronald McKinley Everett), a professor of African-American studies, intended on having a holiday where those of African descent could celebrate their own holiday, by honoring the history and culture of their ancestors.
Each of the seven days is dedicated to a pillar of Kwanzaa. These seven principles ("Nguzo Saba") are: Unity, Self-Determination, Collective Work and Responsibility, Cooperative Economics, Purpose, Creativity, and Faith. A second "a" was added so the word "Kwanzaa" would also be seven letters long.
December 26th, 1966
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