The Ultimate Guide to Kwanzaa 2022

Here’s everything you need to know about this proud Pan-African festival.

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Kwanzaa is an African American celebration of life, family, community, and culture that lasts for seven days, from December 26 to January 1. But don’t call it African Christmas! In fact, Dr. Maulana Karenga, now chairman of Black Studies at California State University at Long Beach, introduced the holiday in 1966 not only to bring African Americans together and reconnect with their heritage, but as a counter to the commercialization of Christmas in the United States. Read on to learn the history, traditions, and unique values and ideals that make this holiday special to millions.

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10 Things You Never Knew About Kwanzaa—If you’ve never participated in the holiday before, you may not be familiar with its traditions, symbols, and true meaning. Here’s what every American needs to know about Kwanzaa.

What Are the Seven Principles of Kwanzaa?—Every night, a candle is lit on a traditional candleholder, the kinara, to honor each of Kwanzaa’s seven principles. So, what are those principles, and how do families embrace them during this weeklong holiday?

Why Kwanzaa Is So Meaningful to Black Americans—Even with COVID-19 restrictions, the meaning behind the Kwanzaa traditions will endure. Here’s why, for seven glorious days, Eisa Ulen’s family and millions of others will honor their ancestors and African traditions.

Kwanzaa Traditions That American Families Cherish—Lighting the kinara, decking the halls with a mkeka and mishumaa saba, and hosting a fall harvest feast are just some of the customs families practice to strengthen their bond and encourage pride in their African ancestry and identity.

The Best Kwanzaa Gifts—Kwanzaa gifts are typically creative, artistic, and often handmade items that focus on African heritage and promote the betterment of the Black community. Not sure what to gift? We’ve got some ideas!