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Kwanzaa 2016 – 2017 Dates: What Time Does the Holiday Start & End?

Kwanzaa 2016, Kwanzaa Dates, Kwanzaa 2017, when does Kwanzaa start, when does kwanzaa end, how long is kwanzaa

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Kwanzaa is a week-long holiday that honors African heritage in African-American culture, and falls from December 26 to January 1 each year. First celebrated in 1966, the seven-day event honors family, community, and culture. A portion of the Official Kwanzaa Website reads, “The holiday, then will of necessity, be engaged as an ancient and living cultural tradition which reflects the best of African thought and practice in its reaffirmation of the dignity of the human person in community and culture, the well-being of family and community, the integrity of the environment and our kinship with it, and the rich resource and meaning of a people’s culture.”

Kwanzaa Start Date: Monday, December 26, 2016

Kwanza End Date: Sunday, January 1, 2017

Each night of the holiday, a candle is lit in honor of the seven principles of Kwanzaa. The candles represent:
– Unity (umoja)
– Self-Determination (kujichagulia)
– Responsibility (ujima)
– Economics (ujamaa)
– Purpose (nia)
– Creativity (kuumba)
– Faith (imani)

This year, 2016 will mark the 50th anniversary of Kwanzaa, and approximately 18 million African Americans will take part in the holiday. Kwanzaa has its origins in the harvest festivals that have taken place in Africa for thousands of years, and the name “Kwanzaa” comes from the Swahili phrase meaning “first fruits of the harvest.”

Kwanzaa was created by Dr. Maulana Karenga, a professor and chairman of Black Studies at California State University. He proposed the holiday after the Watts riots in Los Angeles as a way to bring the African-American community together. History.com writes, “Karenga combined aspects of several different harvest celebrations, such as those of the Ashanti and those of the Zulu, to form the basis of Kwanzaa.”

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