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A brief history of the holiday is also included along why black, red and green are the colors chosen.

 

Though many Americans don’t know much about Kwanzaa, it’s a beautiful holiday that all can share in.

Dates

Kwanzaa is celebrated from December 26 through January 1st.

History

Established by Maulana Karenga in 1966, Kwanzaa is a holiday that honors African heritage and celebrates family, community, and culture. It takes its name from the phrase “matunda ya kwanza,” which in Swahili means “first fruits.”

Kwanzaa’s origin lies in the 1960s civil rights and Black Freedom movements, and is a way of commemorating the African heritage of black Americans whose ethnic history was stripped away by the slave trade. Swahili is the most widely spoken African language, and was thus chosen as the language of Kwanzaa’s principles.

According to Karenga, “Kwanzaa was created to reaffirm and restore our rootedness in African culture.” It is a cultural rather than religious holiday, and can be celebrated regardless of a person’s faith tradition.

“First fruits” celebrations date back to ancient Egypt and Nubia, and commemorate the harvest.

Colors

The colors black, red, and green are part of Kwanzaa celebrations due to their special significance. Black represents the people, red is for the blood uniting all those with African ancestry, as well as the blood shed during slavery and the civil rights movement, and green is for the lush land of Africa. These colors also reflect the Pan-African movement itself.

 

For a look at the traditions and other key facts on Kwanzaa, click here: HuffingtonPost.com

Article Courtesy of The Huffington Post

Picture Courtesy of Elev 8

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