The 46th annual Kwanzaa, an African-American holiday celebrated from December 26 to January 1, may be observed by as many as 18 million people this year. Kwanzaa is not a religious holiday, nor is it meant to replace Christmas. It was created in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga,
a professor of black studies, as a celebration to honor the values of ancient African cultures and inspire African Americans working for social progress.
The name comes from the Swahili phrase, “matunda ya kwanza,” which means, “first fruits of the harvest.” Its seven principles are believed to have been key in building strong, productive families and communities in Africa: unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, a sense of purpose, creativity and faith.