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Though many Americans don’t know much about Kwanzaa, it’s a beautiful holiday that all can share in. Akiba Solomon of Colorlines.com, federal civil rights attorney Charles Coleman Jr., and Donna Washington, author of “Li’l Rabbit’s Kwanzaa,” joined HuffPost Live to explain more about this important celebration of African heritage and unity.

Dates

Kwanzaa is celebrated from December 26 through January 1st.

History

Established by Maulana Karenga in 1966, Kwanzaa is a holiday that honors African heritage and celebrates family, community, and culture. It takes its name from the phrase “matunda ya kwanza,” which in Swahili means “first fruits.”

Kwanzaa’s origin lies in the 1960s civil rights and Black Freedom movements, and is a way of commemorating the African heritage of black Americans whose ethnic history was stripped away by the slave trade. Swahili is the most widely spoken African language, and was thus chosen as the language of Kwanzaa’s principles.

According to Karenga, “Kwanzaa was created to reaffirm and restore our rootedness in African culture.” It is a cultural rather than religious holiday, and can be celebrated regardless of a person’s faith tradition.

“First fruits” celebrations date back to ancient Egypt and Nubia, and commemorate the harvest.

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article courtesy of TheHuffingtonPost.com

Kwanzaa 2013: Dates, Facts, And History Of The Celebration Of Unity, Faith, And African Roots  was originally published on praisecleveland.com