I began celebrating Kwanzaa with my children when they were young, in part, because I wanted them to have a better understanding of their African heritage.* I wanted my kids to feel proud of their culture. By establishing this tradition for our family, I hoped that our bond would be strengthened and that my kids would find Kwanzaa meaningful.
Kwanzaa is a non-religious holiday that takes place over seven days (from December 26 to January 1). It is modeled on African harvest celebrations and includes symbols such as candles and ears of corn. There are seven principles, one for each day, that emphasize bringing communities together, recognizing achievements and fostering creativity.
Kwanzaa can be seen as a festival of life, community and culture. People around the world of African descent also take part in Kwanzaa. This holiday is an opportunity for families of all races, religions and ethnic backgrounds to highlight the richness of African and African American culture.
Note: This holiday was created before DNA testing was readily available. Because of the legacy of slavery, most African Americans in the US had no idea from which part (country) of the continent of Africa that their distant ancestors came. Using DNA technology, people can discover which areas of Africa their families originated from.