Kwanzaa is a non-religious (1) winter holiday which celebrates African- American people, their culture, and their history.
It is a seven-day festival that begins on December 26th and lasts until January 1st.
The holiday of Kwanzaa was created by Dr. Maulana Karenga in 1966 during the civil rights movement in the United States.
The civil rights movement was a difficult time for Black Americans. Dr. Karenga wanted to create a celebration that would bring African-Americans together to celebrate their culture.
Dr. Karenga used the harvest festivals of Africa as a model for this holiday. Over the centuries (2), Africans have gathered to celebrate their crops and harvests as a time of giving thanks.
Karenga named his holiday Kwanzaa, which means “first fruits” in the African language of Swahili. Dr. Karenga based his seven principles of Kwanzaa on the traditional African values and characteristics of the ancient harvest festivals. The seven principles of Kwanzaa, called the Nguzo Saba, are unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith.
Every evening of Kwanzaa, a family member lights a candle in a special candle holder and talks about one of the seven Principles (3) of Kwanzaa.
On the evening of December 31st, family and friends get together to enjoy a large feast. The last day of Kwanzaa,
January 1st, is a time of gift-giving.
The traditional colors of Kwanzaa are black, red, and green. Black represents (4) the people, red is their struggle (5), and green means hope for the future.
- Non-religious – not relating to a belief in a god or gods
- Century (centuries)- 1 century is 100 years
- Principle- a moral rule or belief that helps you know what is right and wrong and that influences your actions
- Represents- to be an example of (someone or something)
- Struggle- something that is difficult to do