Kwanzaa is an African-American and Pan- African holiday that celebrates family, community and culture- honoring the historic path of Black people through the course of history. It reminds us of our African heritage, our triumphs and struggles as a people, and asks us to reflect on our future.
Kwanzaa was established in 1966 in the midst of the Black Freedom Movement and thus reflects its concern for cultural groundedness in thought and practice, and the unity and self-determination associated with this. Its creator, Dr. Maulana Karenga, professor of Africana Studies at California State University, Long Beach, author and scholar-activist, derived the ceremony from the first-fruit celebration of ancient and modern Africa. For Dr. Karenga, the purpose for this ceremony was the indispensable need to preserve, continually revitalize and promote African American culture.
Kwanzaa lasts for seven days, from December 26 to January 1. Each day corresponds to one of the seven principles of Kwanzaa, called the Nguzo Saba (nn-goo-zoh sah-bah) and uses various symbols, all of which are recognized in the Swahili language.