Do you or someone you know celebrate Kwanzaa? The celebration starts today and goes on through the 1st of January. Kwanzaa is not as popular or well-known as other winter holidays which has brought about little knowledge and some myths on what this holiday actually entails. Here are 3 of the biggest myths and truths associated with Kwanzaa.
Myth #1: It was based in Africa
The clothing, music, food and colors of Kwanzaa are all related to certain African customs and even the holiday name "Kwanzaa" is Swahili. However, Kwanzaa was not based in Africa. This holiday began in 1966 and was started in the United States by Maulana Karenga, an African-American who is currently the chairperson for Africana Studies at California State University Long Beach.
Myth #2: It's affiliated with religion
Kwanzaa is a celebration based on harvest time in Africa. Customs include placing crops, "mazao" in Swahili, and the unity cup, "kikombe cha umoja", on top of a straw mat which is set on the same table as the seven candles. There is no religious affiliation with the holiday and some Christians actually celebrate both Christmas and Kwanzaa.
Myth #3: It is discriminating
Because this holiday was started during the Black Power Movement, some have claimed the holiday as racist or discriminatory of other races. However, this holiday was founded on upholding certain African traditions within the African-American community. The focus is not to outcast other races, but to remember the heritage and customs associated with being African that may have been lost or forgotten otherwise.
If you or someone you know is celebrating Kwanzaa, share your experience in the comments below! Happy Holidays!
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