Kwanzaa Facts


The name Kwanzaa has been derived from the Swahili phrase ‘Matunda ya Kwanzaa’ which means ‘first fruits of the harvest’. It is a celebration that starts on December 26 and ends on January 1. It was created by Dr. Maulana Karenga, a professor of Black Studies in 1966. Mainly the celebration is represented by three colors: red, green and black.

There are seven principles and seven primary symbols of the seven days long Kwanzaa. Every day of Kwanzaa, a candle is lit and one principle is discussed. The candle holder is called a Kinara that has a black candle in the middle with three green in the left and three red in the right.


Quick Facts: –

  • It is not a religious holiday but a cultural celebration of African heritage and togetherness.
  • This celebration honors the African heritage in American culture and to help inspire African-Americans in the United States.
  • The seven principles of Kwanzaa are: – umoja, kujichagulia, ujima, ujamaa, nia, kuumba, imani.
  • These principles are believed to have been key to building productive, strong families and communities.
  • The Kwanzaa celebrations generally include songs, dances, storytelling, reading, poetry and a large traditional meal.
  • It is the time for a great social change for African Americans.
  • The seven symbols of the celebration are: – kikombe cha umoja, kinara, mazao, mishumaa saba, mkeka, vibunzi, zawadi.
  • People greet each other with ‘Habri Gani’ or ‘What’s the news?’ during the celebrations. Answers to these questions are formed by the seven principles of Kwanzaa.