Every winter, families across the United States enjoy festive holidays besides Christmas which celebrate the giving nature of the holiday season, including the primarily African American celebrated holiday, Kwanzaa. First celebrated in 1966, Kwanzaa is often celebrated in addition to Christmas, not as a replacement. Kwanzaa is a way in which African American families can honor their heritage by singing, dancing, gift-giving, and feasting as a family or community.
“My parents have celebrated Kwanzaa since before I was born. They were both born in Ghana, so Kwanzaa is our way of celebrating our heritage as a family,” said Kevin Otoo, a sophomore from Kent School in Connecticut. He continued, “Oftentimes it feels like Kwanzaa gets swept under the rug when talking about the holiday season, but it’s celebrated by more people then you’d think.” Kwanzaa can be just as meaningful for the African American community just as, for example, Hanukkah is for the Jewish faith.
One of the most unique aspects of the holiday season is the wide variety of cultures and demographics that come together to celebrate each other and the spirit of giving. Kwanzaa is an example of this inclusivity, helping to bond families together and honor the unique culture of African-Americans across the United States.
One family’s celebration of Kwanzaa, which features symbolic, traditional displays of African heritage.