Holiday Feature

The Origins of Kwanzaa
From A Kwanzaa Keepsake

By Jessica B. Harris 

In 1966, Maulana Karenga, a cultural nationalist, decided that African-Americans needed a time of cultural reaffirmation and devised a seven-day celebration that expressed Pan-African solidarity. That celebration, now known as Kwanzaa, is a compilation of several harvest festivals held throughout the African continent and is a time of fasting, of feasting and of self-examination. Today, over 13 million people of all political affiliations and walks of life celebrate the holiday annually from December 26 to January 1. With its African roots and American influences, Kwanzaa is one of the most popular holidays in the country as well as one of the fastest growing in the world.



A Kwanzaa Keepsake
By Jessica B. Harris
Reprinted by permission of Simon & Schuster, Inc.


Global Holiday Pageant

Introduction to Kwanzaa



This page created December 1998; modified November 2006