Kwanzaa is a celebration that runs from Christmas to New Years and celebrates African culture among African Americans. Kwanzaa was first proposed by Maulana Karenga in 1966 as a way to help African Americans reconnect to their roots. It was first meant to present them with an alternative option for Christmas, though the two are now often celebrated together.
Kwanzaa celebrates what Karenga called the seven principles of Kwanzaa, or Nguzu Saba.
- Collective work and responsibility
- Cooperative economics
During Kwanzaa, people often dress and decorate their houses with traditional African items. Music and drums are often included in Kwanzaa celebrations. The main symbols of Kwanzaa include a decorative mat called a Mkeka, which other celebratory items are placed on during the seven days. Some vegetables, a communal cup used to pour libation called a Kikimbe cha Umoja, and gifts are placed on the Mkeka. Another important symbol is the kinara, a candle holder that fits seven candles to represent the seven days and the seven principles of Kwanzaa.