Did You Know? Facts, Figures & Folklore About Kwanzaa

Did you know that Kwanzaa is a week-long African American holiday celebrated from December 26th todiduknowkw January 1st?

Did you know that 2009 will mark the 43rd celebration of Kwanzaa? The holiday was developed in 1966 by activist Dr. Maulana Karenga to celebrate African American culture.

Did you know that as many as 18 million African Americans will celebrate Kwanzaa this year?

Did you know that Kwanzaa celebrants light a candle during each day of the holiday? The first candle is black, symbolizing the African American people. The next three are red, representing the struggles of the black people. Next are three green candles, which symbolize hope for the future. The candles are lit from left to right.

Did you know that each day of Kwanzaa is represented by a different life principle? In order, these principles are: unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.

Did you know that the name Kwanzaa comes from a Swahili phrase “matunda ya kwanza,” meaning “first fruits of the harvest”? During the holiday of Kwanzaa, many people exchange greetings in Swahili.

Did you know that on the last full day of Kwanzaa celebrants enjoy a large feast? This feast, called karamu, is the high point of the holiday

Did you know that the official colors of Kwanzaa are black, red and green? These colors, represented in the candles lit each night, also are included in home decorations. Other decorations feature traditional African items, such as baskets, cloths, and harvest symbols.


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