Beginning December 26 and lasting for seven days, Kwanzaa is a celebration of community, family and culture, established as a means to help African Americans reconnect with their African roots and heritage. Here are some interesting facts you may not know about this annual celebration.
Photo: The first U.S. Postage Stamp to commemorate Kwanzaa (1997). How many U.S. Postage Stamps have been created to commemorate Kwanzaa to date?
1. Kwanza will celebrate its 50th Birthday in 2016!
The holiday was created by Dr. Maulana Karenga in 1966 to celebrate family, culture and heritage, and is modeled after the first harvest celebrations in Africa.
2. The Number Seven
3. Umoja is Unity
With over 2000 languages spoken on the African continent, Kwanzaa adopted one of the many unifying languages, Swahili, which is spoken by millions on the African continent. The name Kwanzaa comes from a Swahili phrase meaning "first fruits."
4. Red, Black and Green
The colors of Kwanzaa are a reflection of the Pan-African movement representing “unity” for peoples of African descent worldwide: Black for the people, red for the noble blood that unites all people of African ancestry, and green for the rich land of Africa.
5. Stamp That!
The first US postage stamp to commemorate Kwanzaa was issued in 1997. There have been 3 designs released since then, the most recent being in 2011.
6. A Universal Message
Kwanzaa is rooted in African culture, however, people from all racial and ethnic backgrounds are welcomed to join in the celebration.
7. Star Power
Celebrities who have been known to celebrate Kwanzaa every year include Oprah, Maya Angelou, Chuck D, Angelina Jolie, and Synthia Saint James (who designed the first Kwanzaa postage stamp.)
Now take a quiz to test your knowledge about Kwanzaa!
For more resources and interesting articles on Kwanzaa, visit:
Who Actually Celebrates Kwanzaa? The Root
A Post Obama Kwanzaa Washington Post