who celebrates Kwanzaa

Are You One of the Many Who Celebrates Kwanzaa?

 The holiday season arrives with so many fun traditions in store, delicious treats to eat, songs to sing, and so much more. Every family enjoys a slightly different way of celebrating the holiday, be it Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa. A very popular question around the winter holiday season is Who Celebrates Kwanzaa?

The African-American holiday, Kwanzaa, comes from the Swahili language, meaning “first fruits.” Its signature colors, black, red, and green, coordinate well with many of the existing color schemes this time of year, yet they have their own powerful meanings. Black stands for the race of the African-American people, red for the people’s bloodshed, and green for hope and the color of the motherland. These are also the colors of the African flag.

Kwanzaa is celebrated most often in the United States, Kwanzaa stands not for religion or politics, but as a  reflective holiday—a special way to unify the African-American community is to gather those who celebrate Kwanzaa and celebrate. In 1966, Dr. Maulana Karenga, a professor at California State University, created Kwanzaa to promote this special blend of unity and pride. Dating back to the Civil Rights Movement, Kwanzaa is a relatively new holiday, but a popular and special one to a family who celebrates Kwanzaa during the winter season.

Who celebrates KwanzaaKwanzaa Traditions to Enjoy

Kwanzaa spans seven days from December 26 through January 1. For a family  who celebrates Kwanzaa there are a number of special traditions. Here are a few to consider:


  • Take time to decorate your home with beautiful and traditional African crafts.
  • Feature colors of the African flag in your decorations as well.


  • Select gifts, known as “zawadi,” to present to your loved ones on the last day of Kwanzaa.
  • Many times each Kwanzaa focuses on a gift for the whole family to enjoy—one that will revive memories of this particular Kwanzaa years from now.

Symbolic Traditions:

  • Light a new candle each day on the “kinara,” a special candlestick holding seven candles, three red, three green, and one black candle in the center. The kinara sits upon a straw mat known as a mkeka, and you should place one ear of corn upon the mat for each child in the home.
  • Be sure to display a “mazao” fruit basket and a “unity” cup for everyone to enjoy.
  • As you light a candle each day, be sure to share in special traditions of togetherness with your family. Talk about feelings, teach others traditions like braiding hair or family recipes, work together on a chore, create something special, and share in the feast and celebration of Kwanzaa!

If your family is among those who celebrates Kwanzaa? Check out these great ideas:

What are some of your favorite Kwanzaa traditions? Share them for all to enjoy in our comments below.