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It's History and Meaning…

Kwanzaa is an African American holiday celebrated from December 26th through January 1st. It is based on the agricultural celebrations of Africa called "the first fruits" celebrations which were times of harvest, in gathering, reverence, commemoration, re-commitment, and celebration. Therefore, Kwanzaa is a time of in gathering of African Americans for celebration of their heritage and their achievements, reverence for the Creator and creation, commemoration of the past, re-commitment to cultural ideals and celebration of the good. To achieve this Kwanzaa focuses on fundamental collective values rooted in African culture and reflected in the best practices of African American people.Kwanzaa was created in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga, professor and chair, Department of Black Studies, California State University, Long Beach; chair of the Organization Us and the National Association of Kawaida Organizations (NAKO); author and scholar-activist who stresses the indispensable need to preserve, continually revitalize and promote African culture. Finally, it is important to note Kwanzaa is a cultural holiday, not a religious one, therefore it is available to and practiced by Africans of all religious faiths.*

*Summarized from Kwanzaa: A Celebration of Family, Community and Culture, Maulana Karenga, 1996.Los Angeles: The University of Sankore Press, 213.295.9799