What is Kwanzaa?

What is Kwanzaa?

Kwanzaa is an African-American holiday that takes place on 26th December every year – the same day as Boxing Day, of course – but which then continues all the way up to and including the very first day of the New Year.

Kwanzaa was created to be a celebration of community, culture, family and history in California all the way back in 1966.  The creator of the day was the noted scholar and activist Dr Maulana Karenga, who is now celebrated the world over though is best known in the United States, the Caribbean and Africa.

Kwanzaa focuses on culture, history and values, and encourages people to focus on their values as well as to try to find out more about their roots.

There are seven values or symbols: Mazao, Mkeka, Kinara, Muhindi, Mishumaa Saba, Kikombe cha Umoja, and Zawai.  Mazao stands for The Crops, which is a symbol of rewards of labor and harvest celebrations; Mkeka stands for The Mat, which is symbolic of African-American history; Kinara stands for The Candle Holder, which represents the roots of African-Americans; Muhindi stands for The Corn, which is a symbol intended to represent children; Mishumaa Saba stands for The Seven Candles, which represent both the seven days of the holiday and the seven symbols themselves; Kikombe cha Umoja stands for The Unity Cup, which as the name suggests represents unity; and Zawai stands for The Gifts, which represents the love of children for their parents and vice versa.