Definition of Kwanzaa in US English:



North American
  • A secular festival observed by many African Americans from December 26 to January 1 as a celebration of their cultural heritage and traditional values.

    • ‘Do you really want a giant Kwanzaa candelabra at City Hall this December?’
    • ‘If your family observes Kwanzaa, ask if you can have a friend over to learn about the rituals.’
    • ‘The Kwanzaa celebration, a 1966 creation by Dr. Maulana Karenga, is a seven-day celebration beginning on December 26 and ending on January 1.’
    • ‘We enjoyed visiting lecturers, reunions, and four years worth of Kwanzaa and Black history month celebrations.’
    • ‘On Christmas morning we go into the living room and gather around the Kwanzaa set we put out the night before.’
    • ‘The seven principles of Kwanzaa are rooted in African traditions.’
    • ‘Another looks at African-American Kwanzaa celebrations, with cards, candles and table decorations.’
    • ‘Several young children give us their take on the celebration of life known as Kwanzaa.’
    • ‘So far I've been invited to celebrations for Christmas, Eid, Kwanzaa and Hanukkah, which is very cool.’
    • ‘Well, the lighting of these candles signifies the start of Kwanzaa.’
    • ‘For African Americans who observe Kwanzaa, we give to underscore values of community and cooperation we hold dear.’
    • ‘I am grateful for the many Kwanzaa storybooks available to our children.’
    • ‘Many African Americans now celebrate Kwanzaa, an alternative festival with a focus on traditional African values.’
    • ‘Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa and half a dozen other religious festivals occur.’
    • ‘You don't change the name of Kwanzaa to something else, you don't change the name of a Menorah to a candlestick, nor do you change the name of a Christmas tree to a holiday tree.’
    • ‘My kid is so into the holidays, he's been trying to talk us into celebrating Kwanzaa.’
    • ‘The cloth marks important events, such as Christmas, Kwanzaa, graduations, and Black History Month.’
    • ‘Iowa State's fourth annual Kwanzaa celebration will begin at 2 p.m. Saturday, December 2, in Fisher Theater.’
    • ‘You are incredible for including both Hanukkah and Kwanzaa.’
    • ‘Candles are also used in celebrations of Kwanzaa, which is an African American holiday, which runs from December 26 to January 1.’


From Kiswahili matunda ya kwanza, literally ‘first fruits (of the harvest)’, from kwanza ‘first’.