Countdown to Kwanzaa

By the numbers Kwanzaa. It is a relatively new holiday, a cultural holiday. Its founders say it comes from "matunda ya kwanza," which means "first fruits" in Swahili. It celebrates black heritage, family, community and culture based on the rituals of African harvest festivals. And there are some numbers to know:

7 Days of Kwanzaa, from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1 each year.

7 Principles of Kwanzaa: unity, self-

determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.

31 The December date for Karamu, a feast held to give thanks for accomplishments of the past year.

39 Years since Kwanzaa was founded by Maulana Karenga in "reaffirmation of our Africanness and our social justice tradition."

20,000,000 Estimated participants worldwide.

$700,000,000 Spent by Kwanzaa participants on gifts and other Kwanzaa merchandise.

2 Gifts that must be included in any Kwanzaa gifts to children: a book and a heritage symbol.

35 Percent of Kwanzaa participants who say they wait until the last minute to buy Kwanzaa gifts.

1 Percent of Americans who have Kwanzaa cookouts.

3 The colors of Kwanzaa, with red representing the blood shed for land and liberty, black for black unity and green for land, life and new ideas.

1 Unity cup that holds liquid poured to honor the work and struggles of ancestors.

Zay N. Smith


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