What Are the Colors of Kwanzaa & What Do They Mean?

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Kwanzaa is a holiday rooted in ancient African celebrations that occurs from December 26 to January 1 each year. Kwanzaa is a nonreligious holiday established in 1966 for African-Americans to celebrate their families, heritage and culture. "Kwanzaa" translates to "first fruits of the harvest" in Kiswahili, a traditional African language. Each day of Kwanzaa involves one of the "Nguzo Saba," or seven guiding principles. Kwanzaa is celebrated in many ways, including lighting candles, decorating the home, telling stories, giving gifts and sharing a communal feast called a Karumu. The three colors of Kwanzaa, used in Kwanzaa decorations, are red, black and green.

Red

Red in Kwanzaa celebrations symbolically represents the struggles of the African ancestors, including the blood they shed.

Black

Black is used in Kwanzaa to represent the color of the African race.

Green

Kwanzaa celebrations also include green, which evokes both the fertile land of Africa and the concept of hope.

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