Today Marks Day 1 Of The Week-Long Kwanzaa Holiday

The first day of Kwanzaa begins today, as Americans of African descent across the country and in other nations begin celebrating the holiday, which was created by Black Nationalist Dr. Maulana Karenga (formerly known as Ronald McKinley Everett) in the late 1960s in Los Angeles.

The intricately planned, week-long Kwanzaa holiday features songs and dances, African drums, storytelling, poetry reading, and a large traditional meal, along with candle lighting.

Kwanzaa derives from the phrase “matunda ya kwanza” which means “first fruits” in Swahili.

Kwanzaa supporters have said the celebration, which is not a federally recognized holiday in America, has an annual participation of about 30 million people globally.