An African-American Celebration

What Is Kwanzaa?

    Kwanzaa (Quansa) is a holiday celebrated by many African-Americans. It is held December 26th through January 1st. It was started in 1966 by Doctor Maulana Karenga, Professor at the California State University, Long Beach, California.
    The seven day celebration encourages people to think about their African roots as well as their life in present day America. Kwanzaa is based on African festivals. The word means "the first fruits."


What Is Kwanzaa   Seven Principles  
Definitions   Colors   Ritual  

What's Happening?  

Odds and Ends   Resources  

Seven Principles Of Kwanzaa

    Umoja (unity) to strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race.
    Kujichagulia (self-determination) to define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves and speak for ourselves.
    Ujima (collective work and responsibility) to build and maintain our community together and make our sister's and brother's problems our problems and to solve them together.
    Ujamaa (cooperative economics) to build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses together.
    Nia (purpose) to make our collective vocation the building of our community to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
    Kuumba (creativity) to do as much as we can to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.
    Imani (faith) to believe with our hearts in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.


Karamu (the feast)
Kikombe Cha Umoja (unity cup)
Kinara (candle holder)
Mazao (fruits, ground provision, vegetables)
Mkeka (mat, usually straw)
Mishumaa Saba (seven candles)
Muhindi (ear of corn)
Nguzo Saba (seven principles)
Umoja (unity, the black center candle)
Zawadi (gifts)